Russia has blocked more than 16 million IP addresses in an attempt to ban encrypted messenger Telegram after the company refused to give it encryption keys, leading to interruptions in the service and major websites and media including blocking Google, Amazon and many other U.S. businesses as well as Steemit due to AWS IP blocking.
A court ordered that Telegram be blocked in Russia after it refused to hand over its encryption keys to state security agencies like the FSB.
Yesterday, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s equivalent of the FCC, began telling mobile networks that they had to block access to Telegram.
According to the head of RKN Aleksandr Zharov, the authority has managed to block 30 percent of Telegram networks, and the amount of complaints from services that have suffered as a result of the ban is “quite low.” RKN has also issued warnings to proxy and VPN service owners about upcoming bans citing “extremism and calls for mass disturbances.”
But attempts to block the service have reportedly taken down gaming services including Microsoft Xbox, the social network Odnoklassniki, Viber messaging service, the note-taking app Evernote, and many others.
According to local media outlet Meduza, about 60 local businesses including proxy services have sought legal assistance on the matter.
Telegram remained functional as of Tuesday night and said it had gained hundreds of thousands of new users of the popular paid blogging website.
“We promised our users 100 percent privacy and would rather cease to exist than violate this,” Telegram founder Pavel Durov told The Telegraph.
Russia has also asked Google and Apple to remove Telegram from their app stores.
Since Telegram utilizes Amazon’s cloud servers or AWS (Amazon Web Services) accounting for 800,000+ IPs that means anything using AWS is now blocked in Russia. Steemit uses AWS services and has reportedly been blocked in Russia according to users.
Other IPs blocked by Russia’s telecom agency included more than a million in the 18.104.22.168/12 subnet – Google’s cloud, The Register reported.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, expressed outrage on Twitter over RKN’s blockcade in a tweet, suggesting the move as a “morally and technically ignorant censorship effort,” that has “broken Russia’s internet.”
Telegram’s founder posted in defiance (translated) to his VK a Russian social media account that “Telegram users should continue to try to connect over VPNs.”
“Thank you for your support and loyalty, Russian users of Telegram. Thank you, Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft — for not taking part in political censorship,” Durov expressed.
This is all amid Telegram’s billion-dollar ICO to further develop the Telegram app for its users and create a Telegram cryptocurrency mere weeks after its initial coin offering (ICO) presale which raised nearly $2 billion in two private funding rounds.
Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT: $8,186.30] according to Coin Market Cap at the time of this report.