Telegram in the registry: what it is fraught with

Photo: RT

A few days ago on Geektimes there was news that Pavel Durov agreed to add Telegram data to the registry of the ARI - the organizers of the dissemination of information. Albeit with a small scandal, but this was done: Telegram received the registry number 90-PP. The head of Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, then expressed his satisfaction with the actions of Pavel Durov and his company: "Thus, Telegram began to work in the legal field of the Russian Federation."

The creator of the messenger, in turn, made a reservation that he was not against registering Telegram, but only if everything was limited to registration. He stated that his company did not intend to comply with the “Spring Law” and some other laws. This, first of all, is about the possible demand of Roskomnadzor to get access to the correspondence of Telegram users. But Zharov hurried to reassure Durov, saying that it was not a question: “The only question is about the five identifiers that the messenger must report to Roskomnadzor, they will be officially included in the information dissemination register. At this point. Is it really?

In principle, Pavel Durov agreed to act within the framework of the Russian legal field, promising to fight terrorism in all its manifestations as an instant messenger: violence and child pornography, and continue to work to stop spamming. ” It would seem that all is well, the conflict between Telegram and Roskomnadzor has been exhausted .

But not everything is so simple. For example, the head of the Roskomsvoboda project, Artyom Kozlyuk, argues that the agreement with Roskomnadzor can hardly be considered a victory for Durov. Yes, for now no one is going to block the messenger, but entering it into the register of distributors of information may have negative values. Zharov can now say that no one will be forced to execute the “Law of Spring” Telegram. In fact, now it is not required, since the law comes into force only after a year. In addition, upon receiving the status of the information dissemination organizer, Telegram is now obliged to store and provide the special services with user metadata on demand. If in the future the FSB will demand some data, and Telegram does not provide them, the messenger can be blocked.

The duty of storing and providing information is “hung” on the dissemination organizer automatically as soon as the organization receives this status. The law is one for all, and verbal agreements do not matter here, write “Vedomosti”.

The Chairman of the Arbitration Court of Moscow and the Moscow Region Oleg Sukhov agrees with this thought. He says that the law “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection”, besides the organizer's obligation to store a number of information about users and their correspondence, contains a provision that implies the issuance of this data in statutory cases to the authorities. And nothing will stop the security services from demanding it all. And there is no doubt that sooner or later such a demand will be made, and then another conflict between the messenger and the authorities will arise.

The lawyer of the A2 law office, Maxim Safiulin, believes that Zharov’s words do not bear legal consequences for Telegram. But inclusion in the state register with the status of information dissemination organizer implies the “onset of very specific legal consequences”. What is meant here is what was discussed above: the provision of access to special services to users' correspondence and the issuance of data by the users themselves. But that's not all. The fact is that the law also provides for the obligation to “provide information for decoding electronic messages”.

An organization that has received the status of an organizer of a distributor of information should, according to the resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 759 of July 31 , 2014 , keep the following information:

It also requires the transfer of encryption keys to special services. Durov says the company does not have keys for end-to-end encryption of correspondence data, so this requirement is technically unrealizable.

In case of non-compliance with the requirements of the legislation, the company owning the ARI can either impose a fine or block a website or service that has ARI status. Therefore, in the event of a new conflict with the authorities, Telegram may be blocked. And very quickly - as past cases show, this is a matter of literally several days, if not hours.


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