“During the investigation into the terrorist attack of April 3 in St. Petersburg’s metro, [the Federal Security Service] received reliable information that the suicide bomber, his allies and his foreign curator used the Telegram messenger to hide their criminal plot during all the stages of preparation for the terrorist attack”, said the counterterrorism agency, which was once headed by Putin.
But the service has drawn the ire of critics who say it can let criminals and terrorists communicate without fear of being tracked by police, pointing in particular to its use by Islamic State jihadists. It also threatened to block the popular messaging app, Telegram if its managing company doesn’t comply with Russian law and provide the necessary data for official registration.
Russia’s FSB security agency on Monday said the militants involved in the suicide bombing in St Petersburg in April, in which 15 people were killed, had used the Telegram messaging app to carry out the attack, AFP reported. “We’ll see what is more convenient”.
June 23, the head of Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov asked the Telegram founder Pavel Durov to the administration of the messenger provided information to enable the service in the register of distributors of information.
The new pressures on Telegram comes after Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said on Friday it would block Telegram if it refused to provide information about the company which controls Telegram, noting that the firm has so far refused to do so. “Telegram shall be blocked in Russian Federation until we receive the needed information”. Durov refused to give them up.
According to Roskomnadzor, adding Telegram to the list means that the app is ready to operate under Russian law. He also claimed that other messengers and virtual private networks would allow extremists to avoid the ban. He said Telegram was doing its best to help fight terrorism and that blocking it would not help because other encrypted services were available.”If you want to defeat terrorism by blocking stuff, you’ll have to block the Internet”, wrote Durov. In case Telegram does not provide this data in due time, the messenger will be blocked in Russian Federation until the information is provided.