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Journalists are challenging Russia's ‘anti-terrorist’ demands on instant messengers

Source: Meduza

Russian journalists Oleg Kashin and Alexander Plushev have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Security Service’s demands that instant messengers surrender to the government the encryption keys for users’ private correspondence, arguing that it violates their right to confidential communications with sources.

Kashin says he spends most of his time abroad, and has come to rely on instant messengers — primarily Telegram — to conduct much of his work as a reporter, speaking to politicians, state officials, “and sometimes even security officials” using the app.

The human rights organization “Agora” is representing Telegram in a case against the Federal Security Service, which has already fined Telegram roughly $14,000 for failing to comply with its orders.

Surrendering encryption keys is part of controversial “anti-terrorist” laws passed last year. According to the legislation, which was signed by Vladimir Putin, all Internet and data service providers will be required to store archives of user correspondence for six months, beginning in 2018.

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