Russia’s decision to lift its ban on using Telegram will usher in a broader movement to protect privacy-focused apps, says the company’s CEO.
Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Telegram, issued a statement in response to Russian authorities who officially ended the ban on the messaging app in the country last week.
In a June 21 Telegram email, Durov said the company “will not rest on its laurels” Furthermore, he is planning more efforts to support Telegram in other countries such as China and Iran. According to Durov, the messaging app team has already started working on anti-censorship tools in some countries that have banned the app:
“We have decided to direct our anti-censorship resources to other places where Telegram continues to be banned by governments, places like Iran and China. We ask the administrators of the old proxy servers for Russian users to focus their efforts on these countries ”.
What does the Telegram statement say?
Pavel Durov explains that recently, the deputies of the State Duma Fedot Tumusov and Dmitry Ionin suggested lifting the ban on Telegram in Russia. Below, we attach a translation of the statement, highlighting that it is a translation from Russian to Spanish.
“I welcome this initiative. Unlocking it would allow thirty million Telegram users in Russia to use the service more comfortably. Furthermore, it could have a positive effect on innovative development and national security for the country.“
“Blocking nour app in Russia more than two years ago it took place under the auspices of the fight against terrorism. Although we did not sympathize with terrorists even then, we have come a long way since then to overcome these threats”
“During this time, methods of detecting and eliminating extremist propaganda have been improved. Now the Telegram team has stopped tens of thousands of attempts to spread public calls for violence and terror every month.”
“Our experience in dozens of countries in the past 6 years shows that the fight against terrorism and the right to privacy of personal correspondence are not mutually exclusive. I hope that taking into account global practice and the specifics of modern technologies will help Russian lawmakers combine these two tasks. For my part, I will continue to support these initiatives“
What reasons led to the ban in Russia?
Russia’s telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor started blocking the messaging app in the country in April 2018. However, the app remained accessible to users in Russia, as the Telegram team resisted actively to ban. Through the rotation of proxy servers and the use of other anti-censorship tools.
“In short, the ban did not work.”, said the CEO of Telegram. Emphasizing that the Telegram user base in Russia has actually doubled since 2018.
Telegram’s efforts to keep the app intact in Russia have marked the establishment of a decentralized movement called “Digital Resistance.” It is thanks to this move that after May 2018, Telegram remained largely accessible in Russia, Durov said, adding:
“The Digital Resistance movement does not end with last week’s ceasefire in Russia. It’s just starting – and it’s going global. ”
Other global censors held by Telegram
Durov’s digital resistance plans in countries like China and Iran may be more challenging than those in Russia, as the CEO seeks to lift the Telegram ban elsewhere. In the case of China, one of the most censored countries in the world, it banned Telegram in its territory in 2015 as part of the country’s “great firewall” policy.
However, the Telegram app is still accessible in China through VPN tools.
Likewise, Iran, also highly censored, banned the messaging app in May 2018 amid street protests nationwide. It is estimated that Telegram had about 40 million users in the country at the time, which was approximately half of its population. As official Telegram is banned in Iran, local users created unofficial Telegram apps.