Iran bans use of Telegram secret messaging app: state TV

Iran bans use of Telegram secret messaging app: state TV
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Iran is banning a popular instant messaging app that allows its users to send secret messages to one another, Reuters reported Monday, citing state-run television. 

Iran's judiciary reportedly decided to ban Telegram over what it claims are national security concerns. 

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“Considering various complaints against Telegram social networking app by Iranian citizens, and based on the demand of security organizations for confronting the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its usage in Iran,” Iran's state TV said, according to the news service. 

Iran blocked its government officials from using the app just days before expanding the ban.

Telegram is widely used by Iranian politicians and members of the state media, as well as ordinary citizens, Reuters reported.

Iran joins a handful of other authoritarian countries that have blocked the encrypted app, including Russia, China and Saudi Arabia. 

Earlier this month, Russia blocked the use of Telegram after the company refused to provide the app's encryption keys to authorities.

Russia's top security service argued that it needed access to secret messages sent through the app for national security purposes like preventing terrorist attacks, according to reports.

Telegram was ultimately banned because it refused, citing its need to respect its users' privacy.

On Monday, thousands of people protesting the ban marched through Moscow, calling for authorities to reverse its decision, Reuters separately reported.

Telegram allows roughly 200 million users around the world to communicate through secret, encrypted messages that are protected from being accessed by third parties.

The company has marketed itself as a more secure alternative to some of its other messaging competitors like WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging service.

"Thanks to our multi-data center infrastructure and encryption, Telegram is faster and way more secure," according to a Telegram blog post

France also decided to stop using Telegram and WhatsApp this month over concerns that the app could be used for surveillance against French government officials. France instead plans to create its own encrypted messaging service, according to reports