The founder of mobile messaging app Telegram has reiterated his stance against the sharing of confidential data with government entities, despite agreeing to register the company with the Russian authorities.
Pavel Durov, also the founder of social networking site VK, has come under pressure in recent times from Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor to officially register Telegram with the government
According to Reuters, the regulator wanted the app to present specific information needed to put it on a government list of information distributors and Durov has finally consented to doing so.
By handing over the required data, Telegram officially “started working in the legal framework of the Russian Federation,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement after previously threatening to block the app.
“We welcome his position,” said the watchdog’s head Alexander Zharov. “I am sure that the other international communication services should do likewise. Following the laws of Russia is compulsory for all companies that work in Russian jurisdiction.”
However, Durov refused to soften his stance on the sharing of private data related to the app’s six million Russian users, instead promising to put their privacy first.
“We won’t comply with … laws that are incompatible with Telegram’s confidentiality policy or protecting people’s private lives,” Durov said.
In a tweet, he later added: “We’ve no issue with formalities, but not a single byte of private data will ever be shared with any government.”
Russian authorities have previously accused Telegram of enabling terrorists to communicate in secret through the encrypted messaging and earlier this week blamed the app for concealing the messages of the suicide bomber who killed 15 people in St Petersburg in April.
The app is also known to have been used by Islamic State for propaganda purposes in the past, especially by those based in Russia, but the company has made efforts to clamp down on these terrorist accounts.
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