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Telegram founder warns weaker encryption in messenger apps may disrupt national security

June 26, 15:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Pavel Durov also expressed doubt that the information about terrorists involved in the St. Petersburg metro attack being Telegram users was true

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© Sergei Konkov/TASS

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. A weaker encryption in messenger apps will disrupt national security and put all users at risk, Telegram messenger founder Pavel Durov wrote in a statement on his VKontakte social network page. At the same time, in his words, the risk of terrorist attacks will not disappear.

"Communications means such as Telegram and WhatsApp cannot be safe only for potential terrorists," the statement reads. "Encryption in these apps either protects all the users or puts everyone at risk. If final encryption is abandoned, then millions of people across the world will be left without protection from hackers and corrupt officials," Durov added.

The Telegram founder also said that a weaker encryption in all messenger apps would disrupt national security but would not save the country from terrorist attacks. "In this case, foreign secret services will inevitably gain access to the Russian citizens’ messages. At the same time, the risk of terrorist attacks will not disappear because, as the Paris events have shown, disposable cell phones are enough to organize a terrorist attack by sending simple text messages," Durov stressed.

He also expressed doubt that the information about terrorists involved in the attack on the St. Petersburg metro being Telegram users was true.

Durov said earlier that Roskomnadzor’s demands ran contrary to article of the Russian Constitution concerning correspondence privacy. According to Telegram founder, it is impossible to provide decryption keys to the special services as these keys are only available on the users’ devices.

Head of the Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov earlier personally requested that Durov provide data about Telegram’s managing company so that it could be included in the information disseminator register as it should be done in accordance with the Russian legislation. In case Telegram does not provide this data in due time, the messenger will be blocked in Russia until the information is provided.

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