Telegram registers with Russian regulator

Telegram app Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Telegram was founded by Russian businessman Pavel Durov

The founder of encrypted messaging app Telegram has agreed to register the company in Russia, following pressure from local authorities.

Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor had warned that Telegram would be blocked if it did not comply with new data laws.

Founder Pavel Durov said the company would be registered on the government's list of information distributors.

However, he insisted Telegram would not share confidential user data.

Telegram lets people send encrypted messages, which cannot be read by criminals or law enforcement if intercepted.

It has about 100 million users, but is also thought to be popular with the so-called Islamic State (IS) group and its supporters.

Russia is introducing new data laws that require "information distribution organisers" to register with the regulator and store users' data for six months.

Companies must also hand over their encryption keys when asked, but critics say the requirements, which come into force in 2018, are unfeasible.

Telegram had previously refused to register, because it did not want to compromise the privacy of its users, six million of whom are in Russia.

However, on Wednesday the company confirmed it had submitted its registration information to the authorities.

"We've no issue with formalities," wrote Mr Durov on Twitter.

"But not a single byte of private data will ever be shared with any government."

Expanding on his comments, Mr Durov told the Financial Times newspaper: "We didn't want to give the authorities a chance to block Telegram under a pretext of not providing nonsense data like the name of our company.

"If they're going to block us, they'll have to do it for a serious reason."

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