Russia orders Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store

Russia orders Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store
Photo: LoboStudioHamburg, Pixabay

These days we tend to use different apps for simple texting. With so many free messaging options on the market, including the actual messages app on your phone, it’s not easy to determine which one is the best. If we place personal preference on the side, at the end of the day, we are all looking for a safe messaging app where our personal and private details will be safe.

Although we all want our privacy to be respected, it does not mean that we are actually secure. It might sound like an invasion of privacy, but sometimes government institutions need to have access to online forums and messaging apps, in order to prevent serious criminal operations or potential terrorist attacks.

Telegram is one of the most popular messaging apps worldwide. It’s known as the most secured messaging app as it promises users protection from intelligence services. Fighting for freedom and privacy, Telegram offers end-to-end encryption where no one, not even Telegram can have access to the information and messages exchanged among the users.

Why Telegram is causing problems in Russia

In the recent years, it was noted that among other criminal groups and organisation, the Islamic State has used Telegram messaging system to organise attacks, plots and recruit.

Due to the closed system where messages cannot be seen, authorities had troubles catching the responsible criminals. After horrific attacks in France, investigations have proven that the terrible attack was coordinated through the Telegram app.

The Russian government has recently been in dispute with the company behind the Telegram app.

According to Russian officials, Telegram refused to give them backdoor access to the platform. Providing access to the the government would mean that officials and agencys would be able to access users messaging information, which is against the core values of the app.

Russian court ban did not remove Telegram from the App Store

Even though the Telegram app was founded by a Russian, it seems taht the company is having troubles obeying Russian security laws. Since Russian government and Telegram officals could not reach an understanding, the matter was taken to court. Back in April, the Russian court ordered all mobile and internet providers to block Telegram.

Although the app was blocked, it is still available in the Russian App Store. Court ban has only slightly decreased the Telegram usage in Russia, since the app is till available. Now Russia seeks help from Apple, demanding that the company removes the app for good from the Russian market.

In addition, Russian officials are also demanding that Apple prevents any communication between Telegram and its users in Russia. The Russian government insisted that Apple blocks any push notifications that Telegram tries to send its users.

Apple has one month to remove Telegram for the Russian App Store

The Russian government has made their request official, in a leagally binding letter where the authorities stated that Apple has one month time to comply and remove the app, othervise Russia will enforce punishment for breach and violations.

Despite Russias determination to remove the popular messaging app, Telegram seems to be growing. As a large percentage of Telegram users is based in Russia, removing the app from the Russian market will not be simple. Even Kremlin staff and Vladimir Putin are reportedly using Telegram to arrange conference calls.

According to Mediascope, Telegram has reached 3.7 million users in Aprli, despite the court ban. The number is significantly higher than 2.8 million Russian users in march, acording to Russian reporters. In addition, Russian users recenty gathered and organised public protests, where paper planes, similar to the symbol on Telegram’s logo, were thrown around Moscow.

Roskomnadzor, Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communicarions, Information Technology and Mass Media, is waiting for Apple to comply with the official letter. As for know, Raskomnadzor did not specifiy and possible actions or consequences that may occur if Apple INC. decides not to comply with the official government letter.