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UPDATE 2: Moscow court rules to block Telegram until decoding keys sent

(Adds comments in last seven paragraphs)

MOSCOW, Apr 13 (PRIME) -- The Tagansky Court of Moscow supported on Friday a lawsuit filed by the communications service to block popular messenger Telegram for its refusal to hand over decoding keys to the security service.

Consideration of the case was brisk with the provision of proof having taken less than half an hour.

Spokespeople for the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media and the Federal Security Service said that Telegrams reluctance to submit decoding keys threatens interests of the state and the society and can be used by terrorists.

Telegrams lawyers were absent from the hearing, saying that Telegrams founder and CEO Pavel Durov banned them from attending the procedure in order not to legitimize an ill-disguised farce.

Telegram will be blocked in Russia until it hands over keys to decode users messages to the countrys authorities, the court said.

The court earlier declined a request to delay hearings upon a demand of Telegrams lawyers. The court views an application (of Telegrams lawyers) to postpone the case as an abuse of the law, the judge said.

Dmitry Kolbasin, a spokesperson for international human rights group Agora, said Telegrams representatives had not received the text of the communications services lawsuit or any other documents on the case.

We dont have a real opportunity to present any objections against the lawsuit or our proof since weve not seen the lawsuit yet, Kolbasin said, adding that this is why lawyer Dmitry Dinze had asked the court for a delay of hearings and for receipt of documents.

A spokesperson for the Federal Security Service told the court that Telegram had failed to justify its inability to submit keys to decipher users messages.

We support the claimed requirements of the communications service and find them legal and well-grounded. Telegram did not provide the Federal Security Service with the asked information or any information about its inability to fulfil the request, the spokesperson for the security service said.

Telegrams lawyers will contest the courts decision on the messengers blocking, Kolbasin said.

Lawyers of international (group) Agora were unable to take part in this farce today. Now its important for us to receive todays court decision, study it and, certainly, our lawyers are going to challenge it, he said.

Such a fast consideration of a case has been the first in the practice of the organizations lawyers.

Telegrams position is unchanged: requirements of the Federal Security Service to provide access to personal correspondence of the messengers users do not comply with the Constitution and are not based on the law. Besides, these requirements are technically unfeasible. The demand of blocking is unjustified and illegal, Kolbasin said.

The communications service said in a statement that access to Telegram will be cut upon receipt of the corresponding court decision by the authority.

Presidential advisor for the Internet German Klimenko said the decision of the court is a big step toward the protection of interests and position of the state.

There were many forecasts as to how events would develop, but the model of law functioned, Klimenko said.

Telegram would equip users with ways to skirt the blocking, he said. Well probably see an arms race, when Telegram will try to create some bypass channels, and the communications service will fight against them. Ill bet on the communications service, Klimenko said, adding that the watchdog has been recently showing itself rather persistent.

I think that all officials should quit Telegram. I think all state employees should move to other resources that cooperate with state authorities. Personally, Im shifting all my activities (to other messengers).

When working on the territory of a country, one must cooperate with authorities. But Durov made himself distinct by not talking to the government. It is not right, I think. Its a good lesson for all and for Durov, the advisor said.

Pavel Durov got himself caught in this trap, from which escaped, in their time, Microsoft with Skype, without any loss of audience, by the wayI hope Pavel would agree with reasons of the government and will cooperate.


13.04.2018 13:10
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