Russian Federation blocks Telegram - company responds by saying that updates will bypass ban

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A Russian court have ruled that Telegram can no longer be used, and they ordered an immediate block on the app.

Russian authorities have demanded ISPs ban the crypto industry's go-to encrypted messenger service Telegram on Friday, April 13, just weeks after the project raised $1.7 bln in its ICO presale to support the development of its own Blockchain platform.

Telegram founder and CEO, Pavel Durov, said the app will be using built-in systems to circumnavigate the ban but could not guarantee complete access without a virtual private network, or VPN. The St Petersberg suicide bomber allegedly used the service to communicate with his accomplices.

However, Telegram refused to hand over the encryption keys, saying it would not compromise the privacy of its 200 million users around the world. He added that FSB's demand that his client must provide access to private conversations of users is not only unconstitutional but baseless and can not be fulfilled technically and legally.

According to Reuters, the Kremlin depends extensively on Telegram and government official use the service to coordinate timings of regular conference calls with Vladimir Putin's spokesman. Telegram still has the opportunity to appeal the ban, but given the court's rejection of the company's last appeal, it may not make much of a difference.

Durov wrote on Telegram that "privacy is not for sale", adding that "at Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales".

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Telegram was given a deadline of 4 April to hand over the keys but that deadline has now passed and the app stuck to its guns.

Telegram was still available late Friday afternoon in Russian Federation, several hours after the court ruling.

The court decision on Telegram is meant to make one of the last holdouts among communications companies bow to Putin's efforts to track electronic messaging.

In September a year ago, the FSB security service demanded encryption keys, Mr Durov said, prompting a formal complaint when the request was rejected.

According to the court's decision, access to Telegram will be blocked until the fulfillment of obligations on the transfer of encryption keys to the FSB. The trial took place without Telegram's defense team.