Russia willing to lift ban on Telegram if company gives access to its encrypted messages to FSB

Russia’s telecom watchdog has reiterated its willingness to consider lifting a ban on popular messaging app Telegram if it agrees to follow a court order to give access to the content of its encrypted messages.

Telegram was ordered last year by a court in Russia to provide decryption keys that would allow law enforcement to read messages of suspected criminals sent through its service. It failed to comply, saying that the order is impossible to follow, since the encryption and decryption of messages is done on user devices. Roscomnadzor (RKN), the Russian telecommunication watchdog, was subsequently authorized to block the service in Russia until it changes its policy.

On Tuesday RKN reiterated its position, saying the ban – the enforcement of which was an ordeal for the office – may be lifted once Telegram gives assurances it follow court decisions.

Telegram does not appear to be changing its stance. A lawyer representing it reiterated that it can only go as far as providing limited data on its individual users, if a court orders it necessary.

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