Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has been demanding access to messages on the popular messaging application on the suspicion that it was used to organize terrorist activities, including the deadly metro bomb attack in Russia's second largest city St. Petersburg last April, which killed 14 people.
Friday's ruling clears the way for Russian communications regulators to order the country's ISPs to block the Telegram protocol or Telegram servers on their networks.
Telegram is a popular messaging app developed by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov.
Telegram officials have long said their app is developed in a way that makes it impossible to provide authorities with a universal key that decrypts end-user messages.
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Certain implementations of Telegram, such as the mobile app, are more hard to cut off than others. He claimed on Twitter that the threats to block Telegram will not bear a fruit. Security services made the demand under a series of laws passed in 2016 with the stated intention of fighting terrorism. The company said that FSB doesn't have a ground to issue such an order, because it goes against the law demanding a court judgment for access to users messages. "What matters most is privacy which is not for sale and more to that human rights should not be compromised out of greed or fear".
"The FSB's requirements to provide access to private conversations of users are unconstitutional, baseless, which can not be fulfilled technically and legally", said Pavel Chikov, Telegram's lawyer.
Similarly, despite the Ukrainian government blocking Durov's well-known social network VKontakte in May 2017, users continue to be able to use it via mobile app.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the ban could be overturned if Telegram would simply comply with the law. Last summer the Indonesian government also used blocks to wring content-related concessions out of Telegram.