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Russia Threatens To Ban Telegram App Over Terrorism Concerns

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The incessant bomb attacks seem to indicate a good job gone bad for Russian Internet guru, Pavel Durov, as many investigations have linked the use of Telegram app to some terrorist attacks. The app has also been used to propagate extremist messages. The most recent attack is the St. Petersburg attack, perpetrated by a Russian terrorist Akbarzhon Jalilov, which left 14 people dead and 64 others injured.

Investigative reports reveal that Telegram mobile messenger was used by the suicide bomber. Hence, authorities in charge of the operation have threatened to block the app founded by Pavel Durov for obstructing justice. By refusing to sign up to new data laws, intelligence officials cannot intercept messages shared by users of the app.

As more people continue to use Instant Messaging apps, everyone wants their messages to be encrypted for privacy reasons. We do not want a third party prying into our privacy simply because they have access to our chats and this is where Telegram gets a 100% pass mark. However, this Telegram’s app security has favored the Islamic State (IS) group. Over the 100 million subscribers of the app, a large majority seems to come from the so called IS group and its supporters. Not only are their messages out of reach of intelligence officials, they can also disperse propaganda on YouTube like public channels.

Messages on the Telegram Instant Messaging app are highly encrypted. It ensures that only you and the person you are communicating with can read what is sent, not even Durov. The app ensures personal and business security. Media sent via this medium is stored in the cloud. Messages deliver faster than any other application. Its security is guaranteed; it keeps your messages safe from hacker attacks. The app is undoubtedly powerful; it has no limits on the size of your media and chats. No wonder successful bomblasts contracted via this app continue to thrive.

On the so called Islamic State’s involvement with Telegram, investigations reveal that the app was used to declare its involvement attack around London bridge in the UK, last month. Although, there are no concrete evidences to back this claim, a certain propaganda material had ISIS urging its followers to kill innocent people in “homes, markets and roads”, using “trucks, guns and knives”. BBC reported that supporters of IS celebrated the London attack “all through the night- even before any claim was made”.

After the attack that left over 100 people dead, Telegram blocked public channels that were used to promote extremist messages. But then, is this move enough to put an end to the never ending terrorist attacks?

However, amid the insecurity posed by the app, Russian internet guru, Pavel Durov has insisted that he doesn’t have the power to break through users’ private chats. On this premise, Russian is threatening to block the app since Durov has refused to show solidarity for the country’s security services.

Pretty soon, there will be legal pressure on internet giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Telegram to delete extremist content or at least develop tools to help detect terrorist messages. This will combat the incessant jihadist attacks.

Many Telegram subscribers have frowned at Russia’s decision to ban the app. While some fear that banning the app will restrict freedom of speech, some others are of the opinion that putting a stop to the app is meaningless simply because it is misused by criminals.

Do we trade security for freedom of speech?

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