June 16, 2024

Russian-Born Businessman’s App Plunged into Controversy After Unprecedented Suspension in Spain

2 min read
Judge Pedraz reverses decision and halts blocking of Telegram

The decision of Judge Santiago Pedraz to request a report from the General Information Commissioner has sparked controversy among the more than eight million users of Telegram in Spain. The magistrate intends for the report to provide a detailed analysis of the platform’s characteristics and the impact of a temporary suspension on its users.

On Friday night, an announcement was made about the suspension of Telegram, causing an unprecedented uproar among users. The technical difficulty faced by operators in blocking an application of this magnitude was extraordinary. Other countries have failed in their attempts to limit a platform like Telegram, with much content linked to dissident activities in undemocratic or directly illicit or illegal countries.

The initial measure to block Telegram was taken at the request of Mediaset, Atresmedia, and Movistar Plus. Media groups have denounced the application because, on some of its channels, content protected by copyright is shared. Judge Santiago Pedraz issued an order so that within three hours of receiving it, the operators suspended resources associated with Telegram. However, as of Monday morning, operators consulted by EL PAÍS had not received any notification.

Telegram is an instant messaging application launched in 2013 and directed by Russian-born businessman Pavel Durov. Since its launch, it has been known for its commitment to user privacy and freedom from government surveillance. This has made it a popular choice among dissidents in authoritarian regimes such as Russia or Iran, where it has been used to organize protests. However, it has also allowed channels for sensitive content to flourish, protected by anonymity: drug sales, far-right activities, disinformation dissemination violent content and child pornography or terrorism.

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