Finally, Russia is lifting its ban on Telegram, the popular private messaging app developed by Russian-born developer, Parel Durov.
The announcement came from the Russian government’s communications watchdog marking the end of a two-year ban since April 2018.
For the Russian government, the ban lift gives them some relief after struggling to block the app. For long, Telegram has continued to change tactics to continue serving its local users.
The tactics have enabled Telegram to continue being used in Russia long after the ban was implemented.
Slightly over two years after the ban, Telegram continued to thrive in Russia and is reported “a leading service for news channels,” says Reuters. Besides the ban, several government departments still held official channels on the platform.
The lift has been seen as a submission move by some critics, but Russia’s watchdog gave a different reason.
According to Russia’s communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, the country agreed to lift the ban after its Russian founder agreed “to cooperate in combating terrorism and extremism on the platform,” Reuters reports.
“Roskomnadzor is dropping its demands to restrict access to Telegram messenger in agreement with Russia’s general prosecutor’s office,” the agency said in a statement.
The outspoken privacy-conscious founder has been at odds with his home country after refusing to share encryption keys with the communications watchdog in 2018. These would’ve enabled the watchdog to intercept messages exchanged via the platform.
Early this month Durov was quoted saying Russia should lift the ban on Telegram since they have improved their tools for detecting and deleting extremist content.