Russia Tells Apple To Remove Telegram From Its App Store

The Russian government issued a warning to Apple to take down the Telegram application from its App Store and to stop the app from using its push service to deliver messages to Russian users. Russia had previously issued an order to the country’s ISPs to block Telegram, taking down millions of IP addresses as a consequence.

Russia Blocks Telegram

Russia had previously asked Telegram to give its intelligence agencies the encryption keys that would have decrypted all of Telegram users’ communications in real-time. Telegram rejected this request, which prompted "Roskomnadzor,” Russia’s media regulator, to ask a court to issue an order to ISPs to block Telegram’s traffic within the country.

The blockade ended up doing significant collateral damage because it blocked 18 million IP addresses from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. Telegram was using these companies’ cloud infrastructure to evade the Russian government’s censorship by routing its traffic through them.

Soon afterwards, before the Russian government had any chance to fix this problem, Google and Amazon announced that they would block applications such as Telegram and Signal from evading censorship by using their infrastructure.

Russia Asks Apple To Remove Telegram From App Store

Roskomnadzor sent a letter to Apple demanding that the Telegram application be removed from the company’s App Store. Apple will also need to block Telegram from using its push service in Russia. The Russian regulator warned Apple that failing to comply with its "requests" would end up with the Russian government disrupting Apple’s services in the country.

Roskomnadzor argued that the court order issued in April against Telegram is obliging everyone to stop creating technical conditions that would help Telegram avoid the blockade in the country. Apple hasn’t issued a response yet, but it remains to be seen if the company will be as quick to take down Telegram as Google and Amazon were.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.