The Russian government may give up its attempts to completely block the Telegram messenger, and instead try to find a compromise with its owners, said Dmitry Peskov, the newly appointed President’s Special Representative on Digital Development, several hours after his appointment, finanz.ru reports
According to Peskov, who previously headed one of the departments of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, the “ideal time” has arrived to initiate contact with the owners of Telegram. This comes after three months of attempts to block it by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor).
It may be possible to find solutions that are “acceptable to all parties in this situation, and which, on the one hand, will meet the security challenge, and on the other hand, will not lead to the ultimate termination of this service in Russia,” RIA Novosti cites Peskov as saying.
He added that there is now “scope for such agreements”.
Roskomnadzor began its fight with Telegram on April 16, after the Tagan District Court of Moscow officially ruled that the messenger could be blocked, due to its refusal to hand over decryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB).
In an attempt to block the messenger, Roskomnadzor shut off access to millions of IP addresses, which Telegram used to bypass the blocking.
According to Filipp Kulin, founder the usher2 website, which monitors the websites banned by Roskomnadzor, the blocking reached its peak in May. At that stage, nearly 18 million IP addresses were inaccessible at the same time. At the start of July, this figure dropped to 3.7 million, of which 3 million belong to Amazon.
More than 400 Russian web resources reported malfunctions. They complained about the blocking on Roskomnadzor’s hotline, which the department was forced to open at the end
of April. In addition, users experienced problems with search engines and separate services from Google and Yandex. Individual websites also came under attack by the supervisory department. Several hundred Neftflix domains were unavailable, as well as the Red Cross website and the site of the famous American philosopher, Noam Chomsky.
Despite all the blocking, the messenger is still operational. It is hard to pinpoint Telegram’s exact target group in Russia, since the company does not disclose this information. According to Mediascope analytics, which only takes into account residents between 12 and 64 years of age in Russian cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, more than 3.7 million people used the messenger on their mobile phones in April, before the app was blocked by Roskomnadzor. In May this figure dropped only slightly to 3.6 million.