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Russian telecom minister not ruling out Viber may be blocked

May 03, 12:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Another popular messenger could be blocked if the Federal Security Service has problems with obtaining encryption keys

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MOSCOW, May 3. /TASS/.Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov has not ruled out that another popular messenger Viber could be blocked if the Federal Security Service has problems with obtaining encryption keys.

"This is a matter of the FSB as the powers regarding such specific issues of implementing an order on providing encryption keys are the powers of the FSB. If they have problems with providing encryption keys they may turn to the court and get a similar judicial decision," Nikiforov said answering a question whether Viber may be blocked like Telegram.

Touching on the situation with Telegram’s blocking in Russia, the minister said: "I believe there is a decision of the court and this decision does not need any comments."

The minister noted that the decision on blocking the messenger is "implemented with varying success."

On April 13, Moscow’s Tagansky Court satisfied the claim of Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media to block access to the Telegram instant messaging service in Russia due to its failure to provide keys for decrypting users’ messages to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

On April 16, communication providers embarked on enacting the blocking procedures. On the same day, the watchdog also started blocking the IP-addresses of Amazon’s and Google’s subnetworks that Telegram uses for operation, which resulted in reported operational failures along external web resources that were used by their hosting services.

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