MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has registered a motion from Telegram Messenger challenging a fine of 800,000 rubles (12,908 US dollars) for its refusal to provide the keys for decrypting users’ messages to the Federal Security Service (FSB), lawyer Damir Gainutdinov told TASS on Sunday.
"The ECHR has registered a motion challenging the 800,000-ruble fine. It has also been notified about the court ruling sanctioning Telegram’s blocking and suggested a separate motion be lodged concerning that matter," he said.
FSB vs Telegram
In summer 2017, the FSB said members of international terrorist organizations in Russia actively used the Telegram messenger, which enables terrorists to have chats with a high level of encrypted information.
According to the FSB, Telegram was used by the suicide bomber and plotter of the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg's metro in April 2017, which killed 15 people.
The security agency sent a request to Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov to provide information for decoding messages for six phone numbers that are using this messenger. The request went unanswered.
In October 2017, a Moscow court imposed an 800,000 ruble ($13,000 at the current exchange rate) fine on Telegram over its refusal to meet the FSB’s demand. Despite the company’s attempt to appeal the decision, the fine was considered as legal.
In December 2017, Telegram filed a lawsuit with the Russian Supreme Court on declaring invalid the FSB’s order, which establishes the procedure of furnishing decryption keys. According to the company, the security agency had no powers to issue such an order as it runs counter to the law demanding a court judgement for an access to user messages.
On March 20, the Supreme Court turned down the lawsuit. The court’s decision that the FSB order is legal has not entered into force as it had been made only in the first instance.
On April 6, Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor lodged a lawsuit demanding Telgram be blocked in Russia. Several days later, Moscow’s Tagansky district court ruled to block the messenger immediately.