Russia’s FSB has no issues with most online communications providers except for Telegram, and that’s only because the messaging app stubbornly refuses to help Russia fight terrorism, FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov said.
The rapid development of internet technology gives people almost unlimited opportunities, but also poses great risks to national security, Bortnikov told the Russian media, adding that most internet giants and security services around the world are more or less “on the same page” on this issue.
FILE PHOTO. © Global Look Press / Oliver Berg
“One has to seek a compromise,” and it is not enough for the internet giants to independently expose terrorist networks or people linked to them, he explained. “It is very important to hand this information over to the people that work with it on a regular basis and know what to do.”
Can there be freedom without security?
Sadly, there are exceptions, according to Bortnikov, one of which is Telegram – a company with an encrypted messaging app that has been particularly stubborn in its refusal to cooperate with the FSB, and the only one the security service has a “serious conflict” with.
The FSB asked Telegram for encryption keys to access messages of terrorist suspects. The company refused, arguing it would violate its clients’ rights. The ensuing battle in court resulted in Telegram being blocked in Russia, and has been since April 2018.
However, according to the FSB chief, it didn’t really have that much to do with the privacy protection that Telegram prides itself on. “Telegram works on the territory of other nations and cooperates with their security services in particular by providing them access to its resources,” Bortnikov said.