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Telegram Appeals to UN in Battle With Russia’s FSB Over Privacy

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

A human rights lawyer working for the Telegram messaging app has appealed to the UN to intervene in its legal battle with Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) over online privacy rights. 

Telegram was fined last month for not providing the FSB with access to the online conversations of six users, including two suspects linked to April’s St. Petersburg metro bombing, which resulted in the deaths of 16 people. Telegram's founder Pavel Durov has said that the FSB's demands violated the constitutional rights of Russian citizens to the privacy of correspondence.

Following the ruling, the head of the Agora human rights group Pavel Chikov wrote a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye.

“My appeal is caused by serious threats to freedom of expression, which are the recent actions of the Russian authorities regarding the Internet in general, and Telegram in particular,” Chikov wrote in a letter posted on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. 

“In the coming weeks,” he added, “Telegram may be blocked on the territory of Russia.”

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