Russians Hit Moscow Streets To Protest Telegram Ban

According to human rights organization OVD-Info, protests have begun in Moscow in response to the Russian government's attempts to ban messaging app Telegram. The ban has effectively been in place since April and participants are protesting under the banner of "For free Internet." Telegram has been accused of utilizing encryption and other methods to keep its messages and the media shared on the platform secret from the Russian government. That flies in the face of Russian law, which requires services to hand over encryption keys to Moscow when requested. Telegram refused and has been avoiding shutdowns by hopping from one IP address to another. Protestors are calling out the efforts of Russian regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) as encroaching on basic freedoms.

The protests themselves began on Sunday, May 13. For the rally, the protestors decried what they claim is an authoritarian attempt to subvert privacies and remove the freedom that the Internet represents. Participants also flew paper airplanes, with that particular object being a central part of Telegram's app icon design. More than 20 protestors have been arrested in accordance with the protocol on part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, with authorities stating that those individuals violated rules for this type of assembly. However, some protestors have also claimed inappropriate action from responding police officers, in one instance reporting that protestors have been kicked. Most of the detainees were quickly released with the exception of at least one individual who had been cited for a similar violation at a prior "animal protectionist" rally. At least two minors were also detained before being released without any citations being issued.

The RKN's pursuit of Telegram has had consequences extending far beyond that company. In fact, as a result of the way Telegram has been avoiding authorities, several other technology firms' services have been adversely affected as well. That has included smaller companies all the way up to global organizations such as Amazon and Google, with Russian citizens noting serious disruptions to services offered or supported by those. There's no news as to whether or not the protests will continue but they aren't likely to change Russian law overnight and unrest over the actions of the RKN may continue.

 

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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