Apple Is Giving Into Russia By Blocking Updates To Private Messaging App, Says Company

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

The chief executive of a popular protected messaging service is blaming Apple for essentially capitulating to Russia by not allowing its users within that country to update their app.

“Unfortunately, Apple didn’t side with us,” Telegram founder Pavel Durov wrote Thursday on Twitter. Without an update, many of Apple’s available operating systems will reportedly not allow the app to function.

The Kremlin banned Telegram in April because it empowered users with the ability to encrypt and thus secure their data.

“We refused to provide decryption keys for all our users’ communications to Russia’s security agencies,” Durov continued. “We believe we did the only possible thing, preserving the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country.”

Russia has been clamping down on such technology for some time, arguing that it brings illicit activity to the dark, away from law enforcement’s detection. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last year that forbids virtual private networks (VPNs) which enable internet users to navigate parts of the web that are normally blocked by certain governments.

China, a country that is consistently ranked as one of the worst countries for internet freedom, for example, does the same. (RELATED: China Jails Man For Helping Public Use The Internet)

Peter Micek, general counsel of non-profit digital rights group Access Now, blames Apple specifically for kowtowing to Russia’s demands, according to Reuters. The U.S.-based tech giant has bended over backwards to enter or maintain presence in massive markets like Russia and China many times before. It removed all apps that provide VPNs and purged The New York Times app from its Chinese app store to comply with government regulators.

The company, however, decided to take a stand last year with one country at least by not approving an anti-spam app sponsored and pushed by the Indian government purportedly due to privacy concerns.

Apple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time of publication.

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