Russia has fined Telegram 800,000 Russian ruble — approximately $14,000 — for failing to comply with a government order that required the company to provide access to encrypted conversations to Russian intelligence agency FSB.
The fine was handed down today by a Moscow court after the company failed to heed an official request from the FSB to decrypt conversations for six telephone numbers.
The request was sent on July 12 to Telegram's London office. Telegram refused to cooperate, and on August 31, Russian authorities sent a notification announcing their intention to penalize the company, a process they started on September 14.
Pavel Durov, Telegram's founder, published both requests on social media, announcing he has no plan to add an encryption backdoor or to give the FSB access to any such technology.
At the start of the month, and days after receiving the warning from Russian officials, Durov also disclosed on Twitter that the FBI had asked him and his employees for similar access, but not in an official manner, like the FSB.
In a message on the VK social network posted today, Durov said "the requirements of the FSB are not technically feasible," and they also contradict the right to privacy guaranteed to Russians by the country's constitution.
"The desire of the FSB to gain access to personal correspondence is an attempt to expand its influence at the expense of the constitutional right of citizens," Durov said (translated message).
A report from the end of September claims Russia will make an example out of Telegram as a sign for other apps that will not cooperate.
Most likely, Russia will force ISPs to ban Telegram in the upcoming future, even if Kremlin officials said today they have no plans to ban Telegram at the moment.
Durov said he plans to appeal today's fine.