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    Telegram CEO to Spend Millions of Dollars in Fight for 'Digital Freedom'

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    Telegram founder Pavel Durov has announced that he is willing to fund proxy servers and VPNs that help bypass the Russian government’s ban on the messaging app.

    Durov took to his account on VK, a Russian social network, to announce that he has started issuing bitcoin grants to individuals and companies running proxy servers and VPNs and to call on everyone to help finance such technologies.

    "As part of Digital Resistance — a decentralized movement standing for digital freedoms and progress — I have started paying bitcoin grants to proxy and VPN administrators. I will be happy to donate millions of dollars from my personal funds to this cause throughout this year," he wrote on Tuesday, noting that many independent proxy servers and VPNs shut down due to measures taken by Russian authorities.

    "As the last 24 hours showed, in its ongoing war on progress, Russia's supervisory authorities are willing to block millions of IP addresses of cloud hosting without regard for losses of extraneous projects," he said.

    Durov pointed out that although not that many people in Russia use Telegram — the country accounts for about 7 percent of the app's user base — the market is important for him on personal grounds.

    Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov, center, smiles as he leaves after a press conference following his meeting with Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara in Jakarta, Indonesia Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017
    © AP Photo / Tatan Syuflana
    Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov, center, smiles as he leaves after a press conference following his meeting with Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara in Jakarta, Indonesia Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017

    He urged his followers to be active users of proxy servers and VPNs and keep in mind that these technologies require third-party financing.

    Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor ruled to block the Telegram messenger app after the company refused to provide the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) with encryption keys to decipher messages, as required by Russian law. Telegram explained that it was impossible for them to comply because the key to each specific chat is stored on users' devices.

    According to the security service, the messenger is often being used by terrorists to coordinate terror attacks on Russian soil.

    Since the app's ban came into effect on April 16, Roskomnadzor has been hit by multiple DDoS attacks.

    READ MORE: Twitter on Fire as Communication Watchdog Starts Blocking Telegram in Russia

    Durov called the decision "unconstitutional" and insisted that he would keep defending the right of the Russian people to secret correspondence. He has also suggested a symbol for "digital resistance" — a hooded dog, which is a modified version of the unofficial VK logo.

    Related:

    Russian Communications Watchdog Reportedly Hit by DDoS Attack After Telegram Ban
    Telecom Expert Explains What Future Holds for Recently Banned Telegram Messenger
    Telegram's CEO Warns of Data Leak Into US' Hands Following App's Ban in Russia
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    vpn, ban, Telegram, Roscomnadzor, Pavel Durov, Russia
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