Encrypted Messaging App Telegram Blocks Terror-Related Channels Amid Rising Security Concerns

Encrypted Messaging App Telegram Blocks Terror-Related Channels Amid Rising Security Concerns

Encrypted Messaging App Telegram Blocks Terror-Related Channels Amid Rising Security Concerns

Indonesia has blocked web-based access to a popular messaging service and threatened a full ban on the app due to its "terrorism" content, the government said.

Rudiantara added that such a hypothetical ban would come in phases instead of an immediate total ban.

The communications ministry said in a statement that "so many channels in the (Telegram) service contain radicalism and terrorism. encouragement and tips to assemble bombs or launch attacks" that it needed to block it.

"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", Zahid said. Indonesians are among the world's biggest users of social media. As a partial measure, it asked internet companies to block access to 11 addresses offering the web version of Telegram.

Telegram is a free Russian-designed messaging app that lets people exchange messages, photos and videos in groups of up to 5,000.

Suspected fighters arrested by Indonesian police recently have told authorities that they have communicated with fellow members of their group via Telegram and received orders and directions to carry out attacks through the app, including from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian with the ISIL group in Syria accused of orchestrating several attacks in the past 18 months.

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Durov, however, said he was "unaware" of requests made by the country earlier for it to remove the channels, calling it a "miscommunication".

Experts fear the southern Philippines could become a new base for the ISIL, including Indonesian and Malaysian fighters returning from the Middle East, as an worldwide coalition retakes territory held by the ISIL, also known as ISIS, in Syria and Iraq.

Its strong encryption has contributed to its popularity with those concerned about privacy and secure communications in the digital era but also attracted armed groups and other criminal elements.

"Telegram is heavily-encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists", he said.

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.

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