Russia Argues with Encrypted Telegram

August 23, 2017

One reason that the Dark Web flourishes are that if offers people an anonymous, encrypted way to communicate.  Governments dislike encrypted services, especially when they are trying to keep an eye on their citizens.  The Register explains how Russia is unhappy with encrypted messenger service Telegram: “Encrypted Chat App Telegram Warned By Russian Regulator: ‘Comply Or Goodbye.”

One hot argument between governments and their citizens is how much leeway the former has to monitor the latter’s communication.   Russia is one country with a poor history of respecting its people’s privacy.  It currently is very angry with encrypted chat app Telegram.  Communications regulator Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov stated that Telegram is violating Russian legislation because it is not providing any information about its parent company.

Telegram’s parent company only has to complete a questionnaire with information that will be published in the country’s register of service providers.  It is not an attack on encrypted communication.  If the questionnaire remains unanswered, then Telegram will be banned.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov told newswire Reuters a ban would mean Russian government officials will be entrusting their communications to messenger apps written in other countries.

In playing the nationalism card, Durov cited WhatsApp, Viber, Apple and Google as companies who might carry messages from Russian officials and their friends.

He is skeptical that the regulator is mostly cranky about corporate structure.

The communication bureau and Telegram should stop fighting over the petty red tape.  Playing the nationalist card is a good move on Telegram’s part, but why is it so hard to answer a standard questionnaire?  If Russia’s security and government officials lose their home brewed encryption app, would they turn to something not from Mother Russia?  This is yet another example of why people use the Dark Web over regular Web services.

Whitney Grace, August 23, 2017



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