The head of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal censor, told the news agency Interfax on Monday that he plans to appeal personally to Pavel Durov, the creator of the instant messenger app Telegram, with demands that he register the service legally in Russia as an “information distributor.” Alexander Zharov says he will convey the message within the next week.
In the meantime, Zharov says Roskomnadzor is “waiting and waiting for a response from the messenger [to its previous requests], but they haven’t received it yet.”
“Within a week, I plan to appeal to him personally,” said Zharov.
- In mid-May, Roskomnadzor first informed Telegram that it must register with the Russian authorities as an “information distributor,” thereby obligating the service to provide the Russian government with encryption keys to all its user data, and share its full archive of all communications sent over Telegram. Durov has said several times that he would never share this data with anyone.
- Russian lawmakers are currently considering draft legislation that would ban anonymity on instant messenger apps, requiring users to register accounts using their real names, verified with their phone numbers.
- Russia has already banned the messengers Zello and Blackberry for refusing to register with Roskomnadzor.