Lock Telegram and the fight against terrorism: controversy surrounding the service does not subside

© RIA Novosti / Natalia to Seliverstova in fotomonster Telegram. Archival photoLock Telegram and the fight against terrorism: controversy surrounding the service does not subside© RIA Novosti / Natalia to Seliverstova the image Bank

The message of the FSB that the terrorists on the territory of Russia to communicate actively use Telegram, was the occasion for the further development of the discussion in the Russian media about a possible lock for this service in the country.

Experts warn against underestimating the capabilities of the terrorists and agree that a lock Telegram will not be an obstacle for anonymous communication on the Internet, but the capabilities of the existing intelligence agencies can narrow. However, they talk about the need for collaboration of IT services with the authorities in combating terrorism and noted the vulnerable position of the Telegram founder Pavel Durov, who are not going to cooperate.

If the service is blocked, this will relate to 6,5-7 million people — as much, according to the Telegram, the messenger of the active users in Russia, accounting for about 8% of the total audience of Telegram. Among the users of the service not only ordinary citizens, but servants of the highest level.

It is noted that the most active members of international terrorist organizations on the territory of the Russian Federation «, use the Telegram messenger, giving the terrorists the ability to create secret chats with high level of encryption of the transmitted information.»

Moreover, according to the FSB, the Telegram messenger has been used by a suicide bomber and his foreign curator at all stages of preparation of a terrorist act in the subway of St. Petersburg.

Position Durov

Durov, in turn, argues that blocking this neutral to Russia service is not in the interests of the country, as other messengers like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger is controlled by the United States. Moreover, a 32-year-old businessman believes that the messenger may not be «unsafe» only to potential criminals — the encryption of these services either equally protects all users or all puts them at risk.

The actor also explained why the messenger could not be «unsafe» only to potential criminals.

«Unfortunately, communication like Telegram or WhatsApp not can become unsafe only for potential terrorists. The encryption of these services either equally protects all users or all puts them at risk. The rejection of endpoint encryption in a particular country will make tens of millions of people defenseless against hackers and blackmail corrupt officials,» wrote Durov on his page «Vkontakte».

However, he believes that «the weakening of encryption in all instant messengers will undermine the national security of the country as a whole, as foreign intelligence services inevitably will also get access to the entire correspondence of citizens of Russia». «The risk of terrorist attacks will not disappear – as the events in Paris, to carry out a terrorist attack enough disposable phones and conventional CMC without any encryption» — wrote Durov.

Not a single Telegram

The message of the FSB for many experts was not a decisive argument in favor of the position of Roskomnadzor in a dispute with Durov: experts believe that the blocking of Telegram in Russia, will not prevent anonymous communication of terrorists on the Internet. Besides the Telegram, there are as other popular services and specific cryptomancer, experts say.

«Not to underestimate the mental capacities and the technical capabilities of terrorists. In addition to the widely spread instant messengers like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, there are more specific cryptomancer, the number of downloads which increases in proportion to the statements about the different locks available to the public means of communication. Anyway, the terrorists will continue to communicate. To avoid these loopholes can only be banning the use of the Internet in principle», — said General Director of Group-IB, specializing in information security and protection cyberhugs, Ilya Sachkov.

At the same time, nets believes that «creating any IT service, its Creator needs to provide mechanisms to assist States in matters of security.» In his opinion, to effectively combat terrorism «we need a comprehensive approach that requires collaboration between law enforcement agencies of different countries, providers of communications, management services — a kind of social contract. Sachkov called upon in matters of combating crime and terrorism do not confuse anonymity with lawlessness: according to him, some freedom must not pose a danger to others.

Independent information security expert Kirill Ermakov also believes that it is possible to block Telegram messenger in Russia will not be able to deprive terrorists of anonymous communication in the network.

According to Ermakova, Telegram is not the only messenger which implements the P2P-encryption, ensuring the impossibility of decoding of third-party messages between the two subscribers, and «a large number of alternative instant messengers are able to do it the same way.»

«If you look at the whole picture, inhibiting Telegram, we increase the complexity of the ability to use encrypted communication, not remove the possibility of it overall. It may be other instant messengers, perhaps, they will continue to use messengers that need them, but, for example, with the use of VPN technologies», — said the expert.

Ermakov explained that «this is what is called technology proxy, a bill to ban which is being discussed at the moment».

«In principle, a wealth of technologies, which is represented in the current world on the Internet, so much so that those who need confidential correspondence, you will find methods and technologies. The question is what just will increase the complexity of using one or the other mechanism,» said Ermakov.

A blow to the information database

Lock Telegram and the fight against terrorism: controversy surrounding the service does not subside© RIA Novosti / Kirill to Kallinikova in photomontagist: closure of Telegram would not be a panacea in the fight against terrorislamic said a member of the Council on foreign and defense policy of the Russian Federation the General-the major (FSB) of the reserve Alexander Mikhailov, the control contacts of terrorists from the Russian competent authorities need not only to Telegram.

«Lock any messenger which have access to special services — primarily a strike based on information of the intelligence services themselves. Today is not the time to use carrier pigeon. Therefore, I believe that any messenger can be used for the implementation of information contacts between terrorists, between the terrorist centers. Believe that it is necessary not to forbid, and to negotiate, to build a normal system of relations with owners of messengers, in particular Telegram, to have appropriate access,» said RIA Novosti Mikhailov.

He stressed that the control of the messengers should be exercised by a state «only in terms of fighting crime — there are no political purposes, this control should not chase».

According to Mikhailov, the terrorists also use other Internet resources that are difficult to control. «Our colleagues from FSB once again I want to say that when we have a certain kind of formation of information flows, this layer should simply be used in the operational work», — said the General.

Lock Telegram and the fight against terrorism: controversy surrounding the service does not subside© RIA Novosti / Kirill to Kallinikova fotobanka in the Kremlin commented on the possible lock-Telegram»Today, the Internet is an information battlefield. But, unfortunately, the enemy entered the field fully armed and we as heavy artillery want to use the Roskomnadzor, which might have something close. Closed today and tomorrow will pop up elsewhere. For control of a limited group of people should not be put in a difficult position with a huge army of law-abiding users of any network,» concluded the member of the Council on foreign and defense policy of the Russian Federation.

Vulnerable position

Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on the Internet Herman Klimenko considers a legally vulnerable position Telegram in a dispute with Roskomnadzor, since the messenger does not comply with the requirements of the Russian legislation and is not a dialogue with the industry supervising Department.

«The whole business model of the Telegram is built on the denial of any form of cooperation (authorities — ed.). With other messengers including Viber, WhatsApp and others — some dialogue is, despite the sanctions, tensions with the Americans, and other factors. Paul (Durov) to conduct a dialogue is impossible, so here Paul is, perhaps, vulnerable position in the legal sense. Well, he ain’t cooperating», — Klimenko told RIA Novosti.

Officials also will affect

Lock Telegram and the fight against terrorism: controversy surrounding the service does not subside© RIA Novosti / Kirill to Kallinikova in fotobank Russian terrorists are actively using the Telegram for communication, said in Fibrecrete all the arguments of experts in favor of the need of cooperation with the authorities and the futility of blocking Telegram, none of the parties to this dispute have not expressed willingness to compromise. Because the Telegram has all the chances to be banned in Russia. Meanwhile, the Telegram has become an integral part of life of not only ordinary citizens, but also officials at various levels, although the latter is more use messenger for personal communication, rather than to address operational issues.

A source in one of the ministries told RIA Novosti that after a series of scandalous publications private email correspondence of Russian officials, carried out by hacker group «Anonymous international», also known as «Humpty Dumpty,» the Telegram went on literally all the members of the Russian government.

Government members often use secret chats with timer destroy messages after a set period of time. Many ministries, according to the source, build via Telegram almost the entire control system, and some officials remain in the network almost all day.

Other interlocutor RIA Novosti noted that most officials use the popular messenger more for «personal, human communication», we are not talking about the discussion of working moments or forwarding documents.

Lock Telegram and the fight against terrorism: controversy surrounding the service does not subside© RIA Novosti / Kirill to Kallinikova in fotoracconti considers vulnerable position Telegram in a dispute with Roskomnadzora sources have acknowledged that sometimes the messenger is still used for transmitting information having a signature stamp «DSP». «State secret, of course, in a Telegram not to share», say sources. Serious questions officials prefer to discuss via protected special communication channels.

In addition, a number of agencies have formal channels in the Telegram in which duplicated published on the websites of news and commentary for journalists. Such services, for example, have Federal Antimonopoly service, the Ministry of education, the presidential Council on human rights.

Uses messenger and press service of the Kremlin. According to the press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov, if Telegram will block the communication with the journalists will go through another service.