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Russia asks Apple to remove messaging app Telegram from the App Store

Telegram Logo
Telegram Logo (Image credit: Telegram)

UPDATE: The app claims that Apple hasn't allow Telegram to update since April, and because of that the app has missed the GDPR update that would meet new European regulations.

In a statment, Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, claims that Apple did not "side" with the app:

Apple has been preventing Telegram from updating its iOS apps globally ever since the Russian authorities ordered Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store. Russia banned Telegram on its territory in April because we refused to provide decryption keys for all our users' communications to Russia's security agencies. We believe we did the only possible thing, preserving the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country. Unfortunately, Apple didn't side with us. While Russia makes up only 7% of Telegram's userbase, Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April. As a result, we've also been unable to fully comply with GDPR for our EU-users by the deadline of May 25, 2018. We are continuing our efforts to resolve the situation and will keep you updated.

May 30, 2018

Telegram, a Moscow-based secure messaging app, has been popular in Russia for a number of months now. Well, at least until April, where the app got in trouble for refusing to share its encryption keys with Russia's Federal Security Service.

Following a court ruling that actually banned the app from Russia until it provided said keys, the country went on to block 50 VPN services in order to stop people from accessing the App.

Regardless of the country's attempts, Russians are still accessing the app: and now Apple is being asked to step in.

The majority of users in Russia are still accessing the app, the Kremlin's censorship arm Roskomnadzor announced yesterday. Only 15 to 30 percent of Telegram's operations have been disrupted so far, leading Russia to turn to Apple for help taking the app down. The censorship arm also says that it's in talks with Google to ban the app from Google Play. (The Verge)

In a letter to the company, authorities claim they're giving Apple mone month to meet their demands before their enforce their punishment.

What do you think?

Are you surprised at all by what's happening in regards to the Russian government responding to Telegram? Do you think Telegram should provide its encryption keys?

Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau

4 Comments
  • Apple has been blocking Telegram from updating its iOS app globally since mid-April. https://telegram.org/faq#q-what-about-gdpr
  • Thanks for the update, Cella. will wait to hear from Apple. Also, I noticed a couple of typographical errors. Could you fix it?
    Apple "mone" month to meet their demands before "their" enforce their punishment.
    mone - one
    their - they
  • If Apple really cared about free speech, there's an easy fix. Allow people to use XCode apps for longer as a test. Give them 6 months for free instead of the 1 week. Then, anyone could compile Signal/VPN's in countries like China or Russia. Can't stop the signal.
  • Absolutely NOT. Apple should not give in if they do it shows who they support. NO Government has any right to any communication, USA included. Encryption in messaging is vital.