Indonesia backs away from Telegram ban

01 AUG 2017

The Indonesian government decided not to ban encrypted messaging service Telegram, after threatening to do so unless the app maker blocked unlawful content, particularly radical and terrorist propaganda.

In July the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov (pictured, right), promised to shut down “terrorist-related” public channels. He then travelled to meet Rudiantara (pictured, left), the minister of Communications and Information Technology, who announced “we have agreed to keep Telegram accessible.”

 


The minister said the government would work with Telegram to put in place standard operating procedures which “address the negative content in Telegram,” and added other social media platforms, particularly those belonging to Facebook and Google, may be scrutinised in the “near future,” Bloomberg reported.

Earlier the government had asked internet companies to block access to 11 addresses which had the web version of Telegram. These measures could be lifted by next week, the minister said.

Suspected militants told Indonesian police they used Telegram to communicate and receive orders about carrying out attacks.

Encrypted messages
Critics of the government’s move to ban the app said it may be better to monitor discussions and gain intelligence, but that is something Durov would never agree to. He said he would not have visited Indonesia if the government had made that request.

“The basis of Telegram is a 100 per cent promise of encryption. This is why our company exists,” he said.

“We’ve discussed ways to block the public channels available for the propaganda of terrorism, which is something that we are committed to do,” Durov added.

Durov said about 20,000 people sign up to use Telegram in Indonesia daily.

In June, Durov agreed to register Telegram’s details with the Russian government, after the country’s regulator threatened to block the app, but he made it clear the company would not share private user data.

He previously revealed US agencies attempted to bribe him because they wanted his company to weaken its encryption or install a backdoor.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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