Russia, Apple At Odds In Telegram App Store Fiasco

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The Russian government and Apple appear to be at odds – in a standoff, much to the world’s surprise – over movement in the App Store. The issue in particular stems from the Russian government wanting to have Apple remove Telegram out of its Russian Apple App Store, to which Apple appears to have yet to act upon.

In previous weeks, Roskomnadzor – the telecoms regulator in Russia – has asked the Silicon Valley firm to remove the popular messaging app from their App Store. This was due to the fact that Telegram still appears to be used by many Russians despite the many efforts of Russian authorities to block the application.  

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The government body has already sent a request to Apple and is waiting for a month for its reply. It’s yet to be known what will happen if Apple ignores the request. Interestingly, Russia has reasons to be optimistic given Apple did comply with requests from China to remove various VPN services from its Chinese App Store.

It can be interesting to take note that Telegram was in fact originally developed in Russia. The service remains to be one of the world’s most popular messaging apps thanks to its end-to-end encryption feature. This is something that allows only the members of a conversation to be able to read each other’s’ messages .Even Telegram’s servers can’t give the staff access to messages exchanged between parties in Telegram.

This has upset Russian authorities, especially since the encryption can be used by “terrorists” and other parties with “malicious” intent to communicate without worry. Russia has since then made the move to try to block the application since mid-April, a few weeks prior to the election of Vladimir Putin for a fourth term as Russian president.

Since the move, Telegram has left Russia and now is based in Dubai. Meanwhile, thousands have gathered in Moscow to protest the ban, with Pavel Durov – Telegram founder – taking to Twitter to thank those who participated.

Interestingly, Telegram has announced that Apple has yet to allow Telegram from updating the iOS version of the app since April, although it is possible that the reason for this was the update isn’t GDPR compliant. Meanwhile, Android Google Play store did allow the update to have its May update right after the GDPR implementation has commenced.

The GDPR was a recent move by Europe to ensure websites and services are following stricter privacy regulations in order to protect the information and data of its users from misuse, especially in the aftermath of the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook.



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