Telegram blocks terror content after Indonesia threatens ban

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

"Telegram is heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists - in fact, every month we block thousands of ISIS-related public channels and publish the result of this work in @isiswatch", Durov said in his comment, referring to an alternative moniker for Islamic State.

It said in a statement that numerous app's public channels contained radical propaganda and terrorism-related content. As a partial measure, it asked internet companies to block access to 11 addresses offering the web version of Telegram.

Police in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, say that suspected militants have admitted to using Telegram to coordinate planned attacks and that the platform is used to share bomb-making instructions, as well.

Telegram, he added, had "several million" users in Indonesia.

"The KDN's (Home Ministry's) observation, especially by the Anti-Terrorism Unit and the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), find that the application (Telegram) has so far not been used in matters related to crime or for recruiting or raising funds for terrorism activities", he told reporters after attending an Aidilfitri Open House at Jakel Mal here, yesterday.

The Communications and Information Ministry's director general of information applications, Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, said the ministry was also looking into the possibility of blocking the mobile phone-based Telegram app.

Telegram has stated that all its chats are private territory and that it does not process any requests related to them. It is not yet clear which government agency or ministry made the initial request to the ministry to block access to Telegram's web portal.

Founded in 2013 by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the application is a free messaging service that can be used as a smartphone app and on computers through a web interface or desktop messenger.

By November 2015, Telegram administrators announced that it had blocked 78 public channels believed to be operated by the Islamic State for spreading propaganda and communications. Its strong encryption has contributed to its popularity with those concerned about privacy and secure communications in the digital era but also attracted militant groups and other criminal elements.

On Sunday, Durov said that Telegram had blocked channels that were reported by the government, and that the company would take additional steps to remove illegal content.

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