Telegram forced to give encryption keys to Russian authorities

Russia's Supreme Court orders Telegram messenger to hand over encryption keys to security services

Last year, the Russian spy agency told the company to relinquish the encryption keys, allowing access to users' messages.

Russia's Supreme Court has ordered encrypted messaging app Telegram to hand over encryption keys to the country's security services.

Earlier the Supreme Court of Russian Federation rejected the lawsuit of the leadership of Telegram with the demand to recognize the order of the FSB that establishes the procedure of the providing of the keys for the decoding of the electronic messages of the users to the department as void.

Last June, Russia's state communications watchdog threatened to ban the app for failing to provide registration documents.

Telegram replied with a counter-suit against the FSB in which it said that the order to give up the encryption keys was signed one day before the Law on Information that gives the FSB such powers came into force.

He said that any move to block the app must be approved by a court. It was reported on March 20 that Telegram had lost an appeal in court against Russia's Federal Security Service (the spiritual successor to the KGB) which is asking for encryption keys as a result of President Vladimir Putin wanting access to his citizen's digital communications.

"In the case of the non-fulfillment in time of the commitments provided by the Russian law (commitments of the organizer of the spread of the information in the internet), Roskomnadzor will file the lawsuit to the court with a demand to limit the access to the internet recourses of Telegram Messenger Limited at the territory of Russia".

Telegram's lawyers said at the hearing that the FSB order violated the privacy of correspondence.

"The FSB's argument that encryption keys can't be considered private information defended by the Constitution is cunning", says Ramil Akhmetgaliev, Telegram's lawyer.

Rights groups call the laws a draconian infringement on privacy that can be used to stifle dissent, and Durov called them unconstitutional.

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