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Russia's crackdown on Telegram disrupts Google services across the country

Source: Meduza

On April 23, Russian Internet users reported mass disruptions to almost all services offered by Google — from the main search engine to the company’s reCAPTCHA (which distinguishes human users from bots). The outages started after Russia’s federal censor added another 118 Google IP addresses to the country’s Internet blacklist over the weekend.

After a wave of complaints from the public, Roskomnadzor issued several statements on Monday denying that it has blocked Google’s online services. The agency says the Google disruptions are the result of problems with the traffic filtering systems operated by Russian Internet providers. Roskomnadzor specifically says it hasn’t blocked YouTube, Gmail, the Web version of Google Play, Google Drive, and reCAPTCHA.

The Russian Association of Motor Insurers says its sales of third-party insurance plummeted on Monday when Google’s reCAPTCHA stopped working reliably on its website.

Here's how the digital generation protests ✊

In a sweeping effort to cut access to the instant messenger Telegram, Russia’s federal censor has spent the past five days blocking millions of IP addresses, which has disrupted online businesses with no connection to Telegram, other than shared cloud servers. Never a popular government agency, Roskomnadzor is now one of the most hated institutions in the Russian state bureaucracy, and Internet users want people to know it.

Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov is calling for a nationwide demonstration in Russia on Sunday, April 29. He’s asking Russians to fly paper airplanes out of their windows at 7 p.m., Moscow time, in support of Internet freedom. Telegram coordinated an identical rally on Sunday, April 22. You can view photos of that demonstration here

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