Court Rules to Block Access to Telegram Messaging Service in Russian Federation

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Telegram has 200 million users globally, with Russian Federation accounting for 9.5 million of that figure. Telegram's top officials said that this requirement was impossible to meet technically and tried to challenge it in several court battles, but to no avail.

A Russian court has levied an official ban against messaging app Telegram, just weeks after its initial coin offering (ICO) presale raised almost $2 billion in two private funding rounds.

In July 2017, the FSB demanded that Telegram provide the keys to decrypt user messages citing its own administrative order, which established the procedure for providing the encryption keys. Even if Durov changes Telegram's software to try to bypass Russia's block, "he will realize that most people just don't want to bother", Kremlin internet adviser German Klimenko said on Facebook.

Durov added that the ban will only hurt the quality of life for 15 million Russian users, and not do anything to improve security.

Telegram has over 9.5 million users in Russian Federation, according to researcher Mediascope. The social media app has become increasingly popular with the cryptocurrency community around the world as a means to share information and, in some cases, transact sales.

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Echoing the U.S. stance, France said Assad's government had reached a "point of no return" with repeated use of chemical weapons. Although Mattis noted the risks of military action, he emphasized that Syria's use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

Russia's moves to block Telegram have deepened concerns that the government is seeking to close avenues for dissent as President Vladimir Putin heads into a new six-year term.

Macron's inner circle - now government advisers or ministers - have grown fond of the Telegram app, which they used to plot his rise to power and his presidential election campaign past year.

Russia's state media watchdog Roskomnadzor asked the court to ban Telegram "immediately" after its ruling.

"We consider the ban decision anti-constitutional and will continue to defend the right to secret correspondence for Russians".

The French government's encrypted app has been developed on the basis of free-to-use code found on the Internet and could be eventually made available to all citizens, the spokeswoman said.