Secure messaging company Telegram appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding a RUB 800,000 fine ($13,984) imposed on the company by a Russian court.
In 2016, Russia enacted laws to deal with terrorism, which required messaging services to provide authorities with the ability to decrypt user correspondence.
It fined Telegram last year because it refused to disclose its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB – Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti). This was followed by an appeal to Russia’s Supreme Court, which was lost earlier this week.
If the company doesn’t comply, it could face another fine and even have its service blocked in Russia, one of its largest markets.
According to Vedomosti, Telegram complained to the EHRC that the fine violates the right to freely disseminate information without the interference of authorities and regardless of state borders, guaranteed by article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.
It also argued Russian authorities did not consider public security and the protection of the rights of citizens to respect for private life.
According to Damir Gainutdinov, a lawyer representing Telegram, this will be one of the first cases in the ECHR dealing with electronic surveillance.
“We hope that, from our filing, the court will begin to formulate European standards in this area,” he said.
Telegram has had its fair share of trouble. Last month Apple blocked the app temporarily because of “illegal content, specifically child pornography”.
In 2017, the Indonesian government threatened to ban the app for unlawful content, particularly radical and terrorist propaganda. Telegram recently raised $850 million in the pre-sale stage of an initial coin offering to develop and maintain its messaging apps, and also to work on its blockchain technology.