Russia in 2016 implemented a sweeping anti-terror law that mandated all messaging services to provide authorities with the means to decrypt messages. Telegram had until April 4 to hand over the encryption keys used to scramble messages, but the deadline was missed with Telegram claiming the the service was built in a way preventing the company itself from obtaining the keys.
Moscow’s Tagansky court Friday approved a request from Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications watchdog, for the country-wide block of Telegram. The ban is expected to come into effect once Telegram has appealed the decision over the next month, the BBC reports.
The messaging service is one of the most popular in Russia and in the Middle East, with Telegram claiming over 200 million active users in these regions. When the ban is enacted, Telegram's domains and IP addresses will likely be blocked by Russian internet providers. The possibility of using the service over VPN will still remain.
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