The Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has threatened to close the Russian messaging app Telegram, unless it can provide details of its users, chat histories and encryption keys when asked by authorities. Telegram, which was founded by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, uses end-to-end encryption and markets itself by focussing on the high level of security and confidentiality it offers its users.
Alexander Zharov, who heads Roskomnadzor, said that “time is running out” for the app. He wrote in an open letter that: “There is one demand and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram. And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organisers of dissemination of information.” Zharov added that: “Telegram shall be blocked in Russia until we receive the needed information”.
The latest demand comes at a time when governments around the world - not least the United Kingdom – have expressed scorn on end-to-end encryption technology and have insisted on the installation of “backdoors”.