Russia's Justice Ministry says Telegram is wrong and the FSB is right
On March 16, Russia’s Justice Ministry stated that it found no procedural violations in the Federal Security Service’s orders to the instant messenger Telegram to provide decrypted copies of all user correspondence.
The FSB’s order was dated July 19, 2016 — a day before the formal adoption of the “anti-terrorism” legislation on which the order is based — but the order didn’t enter force until August 23, the Justice Ministry points out.
What is this lawsuit?
Last year, Russia’s federal media regulator forced Telegram to register as an “information disseminator,” in accordance with new “anti-terrorism” legislation. As a result, the Federal Security Service ordered Telegram to decode all messages sent over the network. When Telegram refused, it was fined 800,000 rubles ($14,000) — sufficient grounds for being blocked in Russia (though the network hasn’t been blocked, yet). The messenger is challenging the FSB’s order as a procedural violation. The Supreme Court will consider the appeal on March 20.