Telegram’s efforts to protect user privacy have seen its secure messaging service banned in Russia, where Apple has been ordered to remove the app from its App Store within 30 days. But it seems the impact of those demands is being felt worldwide.
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has revealed that Apple hasn’t approved a Telegram update in any country since Russian authorities started piling the pressure on.
End-to-end encyption, which prevents messages from being read by anyone but the sender and the recipient, is Telegram’s main selling point. It has made the service popular among those who value their privacy and fear government snooping.
But end-to-end encryption isn’t welcome in Russia. Local authorities have demanded that Telegram be removed from the App Store after the service refused to provide the Russian government with decryption keys that would allow access to user communications.
Apple gives Telegram the cold shoulder
It seems that Russia isn’t the only country feeling the effects of that ban, however. Durov claims that Apple has blocked Telegram updates worldwide since it received a legally-binding letter from Russia’s communications watchdog ordering a ban.
“Unfortunately, some Telegram features, such as stickers, don’t work correctly under iOS 11.4 that was just released – even though we fixed this issue weeks ago,” reads a message Durov sent out to all Telegram users following the release of iOS 11.4 this week.
“Apple has been preventing Telegram from updating its iOS apps globally ever since the Russian authorities ordered Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store.”
“While Russia makes up only 7% of Telegram’s userbase, Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April.”
Apple is yet to comment.
Telegram defends its stance on privacy
Durov insists that Telegram has done “the only possible thing, preserving the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country.” Apple has allegedly decided not to support that stance, Durov adds.
As a result of this block, Telegram has been unable to fully comply with new GDPR rules for those in Europe, which had a deadline of May 25. It says it is continuing its efforts to resolve the issue and promises to keep users updated.