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    Telegram's CEO Vows to Bypass Court-Mandated Blocking of the Messenger Service

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    Telegram lawyers plan to appeal against the decision of the Tagansky court of Moscow on its blocking, a representative of the human rights organization "Agora", told Sputnik.

    Telegram will use built-in methods to bypass blocking, which do not require user activity, messenger CEO Pavel Durov said Friday.

    "Telegram will use built-in methods to bypass blocking, which do not require actions from users, but 100 percent availability of the service without VPN is not guaranteed," Durov wrote on his VKontakte social networking page.

    He also said that regardless of blocking, Telegram will retain the ability to send notices to all Russian users, informing them about the development of the situation.

    As the judge noted, the court's decision is subject to immediate implementation. "The restriction on access to information will be valid until the FSB requirements are fulfilled on the provision of keys for deciphering messages of users of the messenger."

    The Kremlin does not comment on the possible blocking of the Telegram messenger, this is a court decision, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

    Earlier, State media watchdog Roskomnadzor has asked the Tagansky court to allow the messenger to be blocked immediately in case of a favorable ruling.

    The actions of the leadership of the company managing the Telegram messenger pose threat to Russia's interests and security of its citizens, Maria Smelyanskaya, a representative of Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, said during the hearing on the messenger blocking on Friday.

    The Telegram messaging app failed to explain its refusal to provide the Russian authorities with its encryption keys, a representative of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Friday during a court hearing.

    "We are supporting the demands expressed by the Roskomnadzor [state media watchdog], we regard them as legal and justified. Telegram has not only failed to provide Russia's FSB with the requested data, but it also has not provided data proving impossibility to satisfy the demands," the FSB representative said.

    READ MORE: Kremlin to Look For Alternative to Telegram If App Blocked in Russia

    The legal action has been requested by the Federal Security Service, which had previously asked Telegram CEO Pavel Durov to provide the agency with encryption keys in an effort deter terror attacks in Russia, since the messenger is believed to be widely used by terrorists.

    On March 20, Roskomnadzor said that it had notified Telegram about the need to comply with the law on providing information to security agency and gave the messenger 15 days to provide all the necessary data for decrypting messages to FSB.

    Last week, Telegram lawyers informed Roskomnadzor that it was technically impossible to fulfill its requirements regarding encryption keys.

    In December 2017, Telegram was fined for $13,600 for its refusal to provide Russian security services with information to decode the messages of those accused in the case of a terrorist attack in Russian city of St. Petersburg.

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    Telegram, Roskomnadzor, Russia
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