19 Jun 2020 15:11

Durov on Telegram unblocking in Russia: confidentiality, privacy of correspondence remain messenger's fundamental principle

MOSCOW. June 19 (Interfax) - Telegram founder Pavel Durov has welcomed the decision of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) to unblock access to the messenger service in Russia and has reaffirmed privacy of correspondence as the messenger's fundamental principle.

"What's the practical result of the unblocking? The stability and speed of operation of Telegram mobile applications in the Russian territory are expected to enhance. Also, direct web links to Telegram channels and services will be accessible without VPN, which will increase the number of channel and chat users," Durov said on Telegram.

"There will be no change from the angle of personal data security: the right to confidentiality and privacy of correspondence remain the fundamental principle of Telegram in all countries," he said.

Roskomnadzor said on Thursday it rescinded the demand of blocking access to Telegram service in Russia with the consent of the Prosecutor General's Office.

In the opinion of Durov, Roskomnadzor's decision will boost investment in the IT industry.

"I think that the unblocking will send a good message to IT entrepreneurs and investors. Such actions of the Russian authorities in this and other areas inspire optimism. Hopefully, the positive trend will persist, and Russia will be able to unlock its potential in the digital sphere," Durov said.

He described Roskomnadzor's decisions as "great news" and "a positive change," congratulated all Russian users of Telegram, whose number he earlier estimated at 30 million, and expressed hope that the change would last.

"I am grateful to all Russian users who continued to use Telegram over the past two years. Your confidence and support were an inspiration to our team all that time. I have no doubt that your support is one of the reasons for today's event," Durov said.

Russia's telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor explained its decision to unblock Telegram with Durov's position. "We positively assess the readiness of the Telegram founder to counter terrorism and extremism. With the consent of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, Roskomnadzor is withdrawing the requirement that access to the Telegram messenger service be blocked," the agency said in a statement.

The Telegram administration did not provide the Russian authorities with encryption keys for its resources but cooperated in particular enquiries made within the framework of the fight against extremism and terrorism, a source in the Russian authorities told Interfax.