On April 22, Google confirmed it was aware that some of its services had been blocked in Russia as part of a dispute over the encrypted messaging app Telegram. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, has accused the American internet juggernaut of providing Telegram safe harbour on its IP addresses.
“We are aware of reports that some users in Russia are unable to access some Google products and we are investigating those reports,” said Google in a statement to TechCrunch.
Roskomnadzor has blocked around 18 million IP addresses that it believes Telegram has been using to circumvent its ban. Google Search, Gmail and push notifications on Android are among the services seeing limited access. Other services that use Google’s cloud and Amazon Web Services, such as Spotify, have also been blocked.
Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, has blocked around 18 million IP addresses that it believes Telegram has been using to circumvent its ban
“Google today has not met the requirements of Roskomnadzor and, in violation of the verdict of the court, continues to allow Telegram to use its IP addresses to carry out activities in Russia,” said Roskomnadzor via its official page on the Russian social media site VK. “Roskomnadzor has included a number of Google IP addresses in the register of banned information.”
Russia began blocking Telegram on April 16 after its founder, Pavel Durov, refused to comply with a court order demanding the company hand over encryption keys to the state’s security services – a move that would have been catastrophic to Telegram’s value proposition.
It is not yet clear what financial effects the block will have on Google, but blocking such an influential and widely used company is likely to backfire on Russia’s economy, as it tries to encourage tourism and make the country more attractive to visitors in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup this summer.
Telegram does not look ready to concede the dispute any time soon, which raises the possibility of visitors cutting their stay in the country short as a result of Russia’s increasingly inaccessible internet.