Russia’s Telegram Ban Disrupted Operation of 400 Internet Companies

    The operation of 400 Internet companies and entities was disrupted by the actions of Russia’s telecom watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, which tried to block the Telegram instant messaging service, the watchdog told Vedomosti.

    Roskomnadzor said that the agency is now working together with the Regional Public Center for Internet Technologies (ROCIT) and the companies affected by the ban.

    According to the newspaper, the Russian watchdog said it believes that this was because Telegram and foreign hosting providers are evading the court ruling, and the watchdog makes local decisions that would allow the Internet resources of these companies to continue working.

    The federal service began blocking Telegram on April 16, but the messaging service began using the resources of cloud hosting providers Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. The Russian media watchdog responded by blocking entire subnets of IP-addresses belonging to Google and Amazon, among others. Innocent services that also used these addresses were blocked.

    Numerous reports of failures in the operation of Internet services forced the watchdog to open a hotline on April 20.

    According to Vedomosti, the federal service is not revealing the exact number of complaints but reports that only 1,300 calls indicated specific Internet resources or IP-addresses that were blocked. The remaining several tens of thousands were either outright spam or letters without any specifics, the service affirmed. Verification of addresses showed that the operations of 400 resources had been affected by the efforts to block Telegram.

    On Tuesday, Telegram representatives filed a complaint with the Appeal Board of the Russian Supreme Court requesting a repeal of the Court’s earlier decision. The Supreme Court on March 20 rejected a claim by Telegram and ruled that a Russian Security Service order to Telegram for the transfer of user encryption keys was lawful.