Telegram technically unable to hand over data to Russian regulators

Weeks after Russia’s top court ruling in March that the messaging application Telegram must hand over encryption keys to authorities, the media reports Telegram said it is technically unable to do so, despite the risk of being banned in the country, where it has 9.5 million active users. After Russia’s communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, warned about possible blockage and gave two-weeks deadline, Telegram’s founder, Pavel Durov, ‘tweeted’: ’Threats to block Telegram unless it gives up private data of its users won’t bear fruit. Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy.’ Moreover, Telegram’s lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, stated that it is not possible to hand over the encrypted messages because chats are held on cloud servers and ‘data are not held in one place’. The ‘secret chat’ option changes its encryption keys per minutes and does not store any of the data before it is automatically deleted. The Russian state communication agency accused the platform of being key communication tool used by terrorists during 2017 St. Petersburg attack. The company’s response opened possibility for Roskomnadzor to take actions which could lead to it being blocked in Russia, after an appeals process next month. China blocked Telegram in 2015.