Some iPhone users complained that the Telegram app on their iOS devices are acting wonky after they updated to iOS 11.4. Unfortunately, these users could not refresh the app because Apple blocked its iOS updates. The app could not provide an update that started when the Russian government told the Cupertino company to delete the said app from its App Store. Because of the lack of update, some of the app’s features would not work, like the stickers.
“Russia banned Telegram on its territory in April because we refused to provide decryption keys for all our users’ communications to Russia’s security agencies. We believe we did the only possible thing, preserving the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country.” – Durov’s Channel
On April 16, Roskomnadzor, the Russian state communications watchdog, blocked the app because it failed to hand over its encryption keys to its service. The Federal Security Service of the said country demanded access to them. It mentioned that terrorists use it.
Furthermore, the Telegram could not comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation because of the block.
“Unfortunately, Apple didn’t side with us. While Russia makes up only 7% of Telegram’s userbase, Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April. As a result, we’ve also been unable to fully comply with GDPR for our EU-users by the deadline of May 25, 2018. We are continuing our efforts to resolve the situation and will keep you updated.”
Because of the block, the app’s users were forced to use a VPN service so that they could continue using it. Russia blocked VPNs but, somehow, Russians managed to find new routes to access them.
As of today, Apple finally approved the updated version of the said app. Pavel Durov, Telegram’s CEO, announced the good news through his Twitter account. He thanked the company for allowing the latest version of the app to be available to its millions of users.
With this update, users can finally use all Telegram features. The app can now comply with the new data privacy laws in Europe.
If the block became permanent, however, the app would have security flaws, making it unsafe to be used over time.
Apple controls the apps in its App Store. Because of that, it can inspect, approve or deny each version of an app. Now, if the app’s update is spurned, it can’t be disseminated through the App Store.
When Russia blocked the popular message service, users rallied in Moscow and they called the block as Internet censorship. And the demonstration drew thousands of participants. What did the CEO do after knowing his app is blocked in the said country? He took his shirt off that revealed his ripped body. With the caption:
“My favorite movie is “300”. The story about 300 Spartans fighting to protect the freedom of their compatriots will inspire people thousands of years from now.”
The statement is a reference to the country blocking of the app and its definition of freedom.