A court in Moscow has approved a request from a Russian media regulator to block the messaging app Telegram with immediate effect. The media regulator proposed the measure after the app refused to hand over the encryption keys it uses to scramble users' messages.
The security officials claimed that they needed to monitor potential terrorists, especially after the underground attack in Moscow last April that killed 15 people and which was organised through Telegram.
Telegram's lawyer Pavel Chikov said that the attempt to block the app was groundless.
“The FSB's requirements to provide access to private conversations of users are unconstitutional, baseless, which cannot be fulfilled technically and legally,” he explained.
The app is widely used globally and in Russia – with over 200m active users – with the embedded encryption the key attraction of the app.
Nevertheless, the app has been criticised by a few countries since its creation in 2013 due to its role in helping ISIS terrorists to stay in contact and organise attacks.