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Russian telecom watchdog blocks 50 VPN services and anonymizers for Telegram access

May 03, 16:16 UTC+3

On April 13, Moscow court blocked access to the cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram in Russia

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© Kirill Kukhmar/TASS

MOSCOW, May 3. /TASS/. The Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor blocked 50 VPN services and anonymizers providing access to the Telegram messenger in Russia, deputy head of the authority Vadim Subbotin told reporters on Thursday.

"Fifty for the time being," the official said.

Subbotin did not indicate services that were blocked.

It was reported earlier that the regulator blocked 18 VPNs and proxy services providing access to the blocked messenger.

On April 13, Moscow’s Tagansky court blocked access to the cloud-based instant messaging service, Telegram, in Russia over its failure to provide encryption keys to the Federal Security Service, the FSB. The court satisfied the lawsuit by Russia’s telecom watchdog filed on April 6. Telegram said those demands would be impossible to implement since the keys were stored on users’ devices.

In July 2017, the FSB demanded that Telegram provide the keys to decrypt user messages citing its own administrative order, which established the procedure for providing the encryption keys. Telegram’s top officials said that this requirement was impossible to meet technically and tried to challenge it in several court battles, but to no avail. On March 20, 2018, Russia’s Supreme Court rejected the company’s lawsuit. After the court ruling, the Russian watchdog said the messaging service had 15 days to provide the required information to the country’s security agencies.

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