Recently, the government has been doing whatever it can to shut down Telegram — a popular messaging app used in Russia. In their haste to shut it down, the Russian equivalent to the FCC has already blocked 20 million IP addresses, which has crippled the Russian Internet. This targeting and policing has led to mass protests in Moscow and St Petersburg, where people have been using paper planes (the app’s logo) as a symbol of protest. So why does the government want to block Telegram so badly?
Created in 2013, the app promises protection against government surveillance through encryption. Pavel Durov created it after Edward Snowden’s warnings of mass surveillance in the U.S.
Durov is considered the Zuckerberg of Russia and was already a target of the Russian government because of his other social platforms. He has since fled the country and resides in the West Indies.
Durov claims he also created Telegram as means to communicate with his brother who is still in Russia. All his international drama, combined with the Snowden news, caused his app to blow up in Russia.
Though it’s unclear who will win in the fight over Telegram, the Russian people seem eager to fight for their privacy and their freedom to chat, independent of prying eyes.