New York Times: What Is Telegram, and Why Are Iran and Russia Trying to Ban It?. “Promising its users protection from the prying eyes of intelligence services, Telegram has become one of the most popular instant messaging apps in the world. But providing a platform that allows users to evade official scrutiny has brought its own problems. In recent years, the Islamic State has used Telegram to organize terrorism plots, disseminate propaganda and claim responsibility for attacks. Now, citing national security, the governments of Iran and Russia are leading attempts to block the Telegram app.”
TechCrunch: Google confirms some of its own services are now getting blocked in Russia over the Telegram ban . “A shower of paper airplanes darted through the skies of Moscow and other towns in Russia today, as users answered the call of entrepreneur Pavel Durov to send the blank missives out of their windows at a pre-appointed time in support of Telegram, a messaging app he founded that was blocked last week by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) that uses a paper airplane icon. RKN believes the service is violating national laws by failing to provide it with encryption keys to access messages on the service (Telegram has refused to comply).”
New Zealand Herald: Russia blocks some Google, Amazon servers after Telegram ban. “Russia’s communications watchdog says it is blocking access to some servers owned by tech giants Google and Amazon in order to comply with a court order to block a popular messaging app.” That’ll get messy.
Neowin: Russia blocks Telegram – company responds by saying that updates will bypass ban. “Russia’s Tagansky court has announced that Telegram access in the country will be blocked due to a failure of Telegram to provide encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB) that it could have used to decrypt user messages if the need had arisen. The court’s judge announced that the ban will be made instantly and that it will remain the case until Telegram provides encryption keys to the FSB.”
The Star Online: Iran to block Telegram, nation’s widely used social media app. “Telegram, the most popular social media app in Iran, will be blocked nationwide, state media reported Sunday. The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the telecommunications minister, as saying the app used by an estimated 40 million Iranians – half the population – would be blocked starting 10am April 9.”
TechCrunch: Telegram chalks up 200M MAUs for its messaging app. “Another usage milestone for messaging platform Telegram: It’s announced passing 200M monthly active users ‘within the last 30 days’. The platform passed 100M MAUs back in February 2016, when it held a lavish party at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona to celebrate the metric. At the time it said it was adding 350k new users daily and that there were 15 billion messages generated daily.”
ZDNet: Telegram told to give encryption keys to Russian authorities. “A top Russian court has told encrypted messaging app Telegram to share its encryption keys with state authorities. Telegram, founded by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, has been fighting an effort by the FSB, the state’s security service formerly known as the KGB, which last year demanded that the company hand over its private encryption keys.”