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Russia orders immediate block of Telegram messaging app

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Ban could take effect immediately

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

A Russian court has ruled that messaging app Telegram must be blocked in the country. The ruling follows months of battles between Telegram and Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications watchdog. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) wants to access user data from Telegram through the sharing of encryption keys, but Telegram has refused to comply even after a court ruling.

Russian news agency Tass reports that the messaging service will be “blocked immediately” following the latest court ruling, and the ban will be in place until Telegram provides decryption keys to the FSB. It’s not clear how immediate the ban will be, though. The Financial Times reports that the ban will likely take place once Telegram has exhausted the appeals process over the next month.

Russia implemented strict anti-terrorism laws in 2016, which required messaging services to provide authorities with the ability to decrypt messages. Telegram has been challenging these laws. Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov has now responded to the ban with a message of defiance on the service. “At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales,” says Durov. “Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.”

Update April 13th, 8AM ET: Telegram statement added to the article.