Russia tweaks Telegram with tiny fine for decryption denial

FSB wanted keys, messaging outfit said Nyet


Encrypted messaging app Telegram must pay 800,000 roubles for resisting Russia's FSB's demand that it help decrypt user messages.

The fine translates to just under US$14,000, making it less of a serious punishment and more a shot across the bows.

However, it does seem to entrench the principle that the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) can demand decryption.

Moscow signalled its intention to crack down last year with legislation put to the Duma, proposing fines up to a million roubles for the administrative offence of not giving keys to the FSB.

Telegram's head office received its summons in July, according to this Russian-language report from the BBC. The summons demanded information about six numbers registered on the Telegram.

Judge Yulia Danilchik of the 383 Meshchansky District Court of Justice made the guilty finding and imposed the fine.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov has posted to Russian social site VK.com that it's not possible to comply.

“In addition to the fact that the requirements of the FSB are not technically feasible, they contradict Article 23 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation: 'Everyone has the right to privacy of correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraphic and other communications,'” he wrote.

He indicated his intention to appeal, and keep doing so “until the claim of the FSB is considered by a judge familiar with the basic law of Russia - its Constitution”. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022