Russian Federation blocks Google, Amazon IP addresses in bid to ban Telegram

Telegram

Roskomnadzor started blocking instant messaging service Telegram in Russian Federation on Monday, for its failure to provide the watchdog with encryption keys, which may give access to users' personal data. Telegram, a free application that lets people exchange messages, stickers, photos and videos, has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch by Russia's Pavel Durov and his brother Nikolai in 2013.

The Russian communications watchdog told the Interfax news agency Tuesday it was blocking a "significant number" of servers owned by Google and Amazon because it believes that Telegram is using them to circumvent the ban.

Retailers, online games and another message service - Viber - are also said to have been affected. A Russian court ruled in favor of the ban last week, after authorities argued that Telegram's encrypted chat feature could be used for criminal or terrorist activities.

Chikov reported that his Agora worldwide human rights group had received 73 complaints in 24 hours from online stores, texi services, language schools and other websites hosted by the Amazon cloud service in Russian Federation.

Instagram, developed by Pavel Durov, was banned in his native Russian Federation on Monday morning, when authorities asked mobile service providers to block access to the messaging service.

Alert over 'malicious' Russian cyber attack
The joint missive was the first time the United States and UK governments have teamed up to put out such an alert. The announcement has come amid heightened tensions between the two countries and Russian Federation .

Russia's telecoms watchdog plans to probe Facebook before the end of the year after blocking access in the country to the popular messaging app Telegram, its head said on Wednesday.

Any moves by Google or Amazon to halt Telegram's access to their platforms or to remove its app from their stores would mean "they are witting collaborators in a censorship campaign, not victims of it", Snowden said.

Team Empire, an eSports organization, also reported problems with using Twitch in Russian Federation, tweeting that "because Russian Federation tries to shut down Telegram and fails, Twitch\Steam\Twitter won't load properly".

Another messaging service, Viber, tweeted that its users were experiencing problems seemingly linked to "connectivity problems to Amazon Web Services in Russia".

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