Russian begins blocking messaging app Telegram

Activists bring a sack with about 2,000 paper airplanes symbolising the logo of the messaging app Telegram to the door of St. Petersburg's department

The website of the Telegram messaging app is seen on a computer's screen in Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 13, 2018. A Russian court has ordered the bl

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's communications watchdog has begun enforcing a nationwide ban for the popular messaging app Telegram.

The Federal Communications Agency said Monday that Russian providers have been instructed to begin blocking Telegram after a court last week sided with authorities that had demanded that the app be blocked in Russia until it hands over the keys to its data encryption.

Telegram, which was developed by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, argues that Russia's FSB intelligence service is violating consumer rights, while authorities say the app has been used by violent extremists.

Telegram was briefly unavailable to users early Monday afternoon but was back online later in the day. Durov said last week the latest version would have "built-in" features that would be able to circumvent the ban.