Court Orders Telegram to Hand Russia Its Encryption Keys


Telegram has lost a court case in which it was opposing a decision to hand its encryption keys to Russian security services. The company, which offers messaging services and, which is a very important network for the digital currency industry had appealed an earlier ruling in the Supreme Court but the application was rejected. The company is fighting Russia’s bid to obtain private information of millions of its users.

Judge Alla Nazarova of the Supreme Court rejected the appealed, which was filed by Telegram. Consequently, the company will be required to give the Russian security forces full access to private messages plus other information of its users.

Shortly after the ruling, Pavel Durov, the Telegram CEO said his company has found itself in a difficult situation. He said that the company has a privacy policy, which requires it to respect and protect the privacy of users. He added that the company is always in the middle of fighting any attempts by the government to interfere with user privacy. He regretted that the company is bound what he termed as the country’s “draconian laws” which gives security forces surveillance powers.

In 2016, Russian President Putin ordered messaging companies to provide some means of decryption that can be used by the country’s security services. At the time, the main reason cited for this is the need to monitor terrorists. Russia is well known for violating human rights and covert surveillance of dissidents and journalists. It is therefore hard to establish if access to Telegram’s user data will only be used to for security purposes.

Many western countries including the U.S and UK have found themselves engaged in legal wars with tech companies over government plans to access backdoors. Many companies argue that the entry point, which many governments always request to access data can be exploited by hackers.

During the court proceedings, the FSB argued that it will not be going against it user privacy by getting the encryption keys. This is because they will still need a court order so as to get data for specific users. The legal teams presenting Telegram has however dismissed these claims.


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