Apple Sides With Russia, Restricting Telegram Updates
Telegram messaging app founder Pavel Durov has accused Apple of siding with the Russian government by restricting updates of Telegram’s program on Apple’s latest operating system. Durov believes that Apple’s move is primarily aimed at appeasing the Russian authorities.
On April 13, Moscow’s Tagansky court banned Telegram from offering its service to the Russians, following the messenger’s refusal to hand over Russian security services an access to encrypted user messages. In fact, Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov did not even send a lawyer to explain the firm’s stance in the court. Roskomnadzor, a censuring media body responsible for attempting to ban everything from Github to white nationalist websites, argued the case against Telegram in the court.
Following the Russian court’s ban order, Durov said
“The power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money. At any given moment, a government can crash their stocks by threatening to block revenue streams from its markets and thus force these companies to do strange things (remember how last year Apple moved Icloud servers to China). At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales. Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.”
Activists took to the street in Russia and protested in front of the Federal Security Services (FSB) headquarters. Most of the activists made airplanes – the logo of Telegram – with colored paper and flew it in front of the FSB headquarters. Police quickly came in and dispersed the crowd. Maria Alyokhina, a member of the Pussy Riot (Moscow based-feminist protest punk rock group) was arrested and later released.
On April 23, Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram messenger, had requested the supporters of free internet to fly a paper plane from their windows at 7PM local time (Russia) yesterday. Durov reminded people about Earth Day and requested supporters to collect the airplanes that fall on the streets or neighboring houses, an hour later. He has also thanked the members of the #Digitalresistance movement, while asking supporters to set up socks5-proxies and VPNs to enable the Russians bypass the ban. Durvo also started giving out Bitcoin grants to individuals and companies who ran the proxies and VPN.
On its part, the Russian telecommunications department bullied Apple by sending a notice to Apple and Google and their respective app stores (App store and Google Play) asking the steps they have taken in response to Telegram’s violation. This news was reported by the Tass news agency of Russia.
To his quarter of a million members, Durov, through his channel, revealed that Apple continues to prevent Telegram from updating its iOS apps worldwide ever since the Russian authorities demanded Apple to remove Telegram App from the iPhone manufacturer’s store. Durov justified his actions by saying “We believe we did the only possible thing, preserving the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country.”
Durov further stated
“Unfortunately, Apple didn’t side with us. While Russia makes up only 7% of Telegram’s user base, Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April. As a result, we’ve also been unable to fully comply with GDPR for our EU-users by the deadline of May 25, 2018. We are continuing our efforts to resolve the situation and will keep you updated.”
After raising $1.70 billion, Telegram also cancelled its much hyped ICO to avoid US SEC’s scrutiny. Reports indicate the capital has been raised from a small private group of less than 200 accredited investors. The amount was raised in two tranches of $850 million.
Telegram had earlier announced that it would use the funds for the development of Telegram Open Network or TON. Notably, the messenger platform aims to establish a public ledger which can eventually challenge Visa and Mastercard. Roughly $600 million will be used for implementing the necessary changes in the platform over a four-year period.
Another $500 million will be spent on equipments and the rest is planned to be spent on salaries and other expenses. Investors had earlier complained about the filtering process adopted for participating in the private sale and the cloudy terms mentioned in the token sale.