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Russia's media watchdog vows to keep battling VPNs, proxies that bypass Telegram’s block

April 17, 13:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On April 13, the court upheld the telecom watchdog’s motion to block access to the Telegram instant messaging service in Russia

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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russia’s telecom and media watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, will continue blocking services used to bypass the block on Telegram messenger pursuant to the ruling by Moscow’s Tagansky District Court, a source in the regulator’s press service told TASS.

"The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media assumes and will further undertake all necessary efforts to fulfill the court’s decision, particularly related to blocking access to Internet resources facilitating the operation of services provided by Telegram Messenger Limited Liability Partnership. We note that the decision of the Tagansky District Court regarding Telegram imposes the obligation of preventing the creation of technical conditions to access the messenger not only on Roskomnadzor, but on ‘other persons’, which particularly includes companies owning VPNs and Proxy services," the watchdog said.

According to the regulator, access to Telegram will be blocked until the company complies with the requirement to provide information necessary to decrypt user messages to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Previously, the watchdog’s press service told TASS that it is looking into proxies and VPN-services used to bypass the block in order to make certain decisions.

On April 13, Moscow’s Tagansky District Court upheld the telecom watchdog’s motion to block access to the Telegram instant messaging service in Russia for its failure to provide the keys to decrypt user messages to the Russian Federal Security Service. Telegram said this demand was impossible to comply with technically, since the keys are stored on user devices. On Monday, April 16, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications said it had received the court’s ruling, and that information on restricting access to Telegram’s resources had been sent to operators.

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