Russia to lift its nearly two-year ban on Telegram messaging app, Reuters reported. The country’s telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor said the company had shown its “willingness” to help with counterterrorism efforts.
“Roskomnadzor drops its requests to restrict access to Telegram Messenger in agreement with the Russian Attorney General’s office,” the agency said in a statement.
A Russian court blocked the app in April 2018, after Telegram refused to share its encryption keys – a way to access user data – with Roskomnadzor. The telegram has a history of use by terrorist organizations. His refusal to provide access to encryption keys was against Russian counterterrorism laws, which require messaging services to give authorities access to decrypt messages. Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov said in 2018 that “privacy is not for sale and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.”
But the ban was mostly ineffective and led to a messy back-and-forth, with ISPs blocking 15.8 million IP addresses on Amazon and Google cloud platforms, which affected Russian companies that were using these services. Russia has also blocked internet anonymizers and VPN services that Telegram may have used to mask traffic, according to Independent. Many Russian and Russian agencies have continued to find ways to use Telegram.
Earlier this month, Durov said The Russian authorities should lift the ban on allowing Russian users to access the service “with more convenience”. He said the company has improved its tools for detecting and removing extremist content on the platform.
Telegram said in April that it reached 400 million monthly active users, doubling its user base in the past two years alone.