Russia orders Telegram to hand over users’ encryption keys

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Encrypted messaging application Telegram lost an appeal to the Supreme Court of Russia, where it tried to prevent the country's Federal Security Service (FSB) from gaining access to user data, according to Bloomberg.
Last year, the FSB asked Telegram to share its encryption keys and the company rejected it, resulting in a $ 14,000 fine. Today, Supreme Court Justice Alla Nazarova confirmed that ruling and denied Telegram's appeal. Telegram plans to appeal the final decision as well.
If it is discovered that Telegram does not comply, it could face another fine and even block the service in Russia, one of its largest markets. According to the lawyer of Telegram, it would be necessary a judicial resolution and an action of the communications regulator Roskomnadzor to block the service.
In 2016, Russia enacted laws to combat terrorism, which require messaging services to provide authorities with the ability to decipher correspondence from users. Telegram has challenged this decision, but the position of the FSB is that access to encryption keys does not infringe on users' privacy, since they do not contain information about an individual, and any information collected through passwords would still require a court order.
"The FSB's argument that encryption keys can not be considered private information defended by the Constitution is cunning," says Ramil Akhmetgaliev, a Telegram lawyer. "It's like saying: & # 39; I received a password from your email, but I do not control your email, I only have the ability to control & # 39;".
Telegram recently raised $ 850 million in preparation to launch an initial offer of currencies, or ICO, and is looking to make another private presale in hopes of raising the total to more than $ 1.6 billion. The company proposes what it calls Telegram Open Network, or TON, an ecosystem similar to Ethereum with applications, services and a store of digital and physical products.


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