Russia’s state telecommunications regulator said on Monday it had begun blocking access to messenger service Telegram after the service’s owner refused to comply with an order to give Russian state security access to users’ secret messages, Reuters reports.
The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement on its website that it had sent telecoms operators a notification about blocking access to Telegram inside Russia
The service, set up by a Russian entrepreneur, has more than 200 million global users and is ranked as the world’s ninth most popular mobile messaging app.
Interfax news agency quoted an official at the watchdog as saying it would take several hours to complete the operation to block access. In Moscow, the Telegram app was still functioning as normal early on Monday afternoon.
Roskomnadzor was implementing a decision handed down on Friday by a Russian court that Telegram should be blocked because it was in violation of Russian regulations.
Telegram had refused a request by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to give them access to users’ encrypted messages.