All doesn’t seem to be going down well between Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor and Instant Messaging App “Telegram” as the former is begging Apple to help remove the app from its App Store or face the consequences if it does not.
For those unfamiliar with the app, Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging and voice over IP service developed by Telegram Messenger LLP, a privately held company registered in London, United Kingdom, founded by Pavel Durov, a Russian entrepreneur.
Telegram offers end-to-end encryption for secure messaging, so that no one, not even Telegram, can access the messages that are sent between users, which is why state watchdog Roskomnadzor is threatening.
Roskomnadzor is the federal executive body in Russia which is responsible for overseeing the media, including the electronic media, mass communications, information technology and telecommunications; organizing the work of the radio-frequency service; and overseeing compliance with the law protecting the confidentiality of its users’ personal data.
Sometime in April, Russian government banned Telegram in the country because the company refused to hand over private encryption keys to Russian state security services to access messages sent using the secure service. But despite the ban in April, the Russian version the app is still available on Apple’s App Store with majority of users in Russia still using the app via Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and only 15 to 30 percent of Telegram’s operations in the country have been disrupted so far, Roskomnadzor announced yesterday.
In an effort to completely ban Telegram, state watchdog, Roskomnadzor has reportedly turned to Apple for help by sending it a legal binding letter asking it to remove the app from its Russian App Store and block it from sending push notifications to local users who have already downloaded the app.
“In order to avoid possible action by Roskomnadzor for violations of the functioning of the above-mentioned Apple Inc. service, we ask you to inform us as soon as possible about your company’s further actions to resolve the problematic issue,” said Roskomnadzor in the letter.
The state regulator also says that the regulator is in talks with Google to ban the Telegram app from Google Play as well.
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