Russian Federation adds Google IPs to registry of banned sites

Russian Federation adds Google IPs to registry of banned sites

Russia's communications regulator blocked some Alphabet Inc. internet addresses, blaming the USA owner of Google for helping Pavel Durov's Telegram Messenger LLP service evade government blocking.

Roskomnadzor announced Sunday that it had blacklisted an unspecified number of Google IP addresses that Telegram was using to sidestep the ban.

It comes after a court order issued a week ago that made Telegram illegal in Russia because the company refused to hand over decryption keys to Russian authorities. Communications watchdog Roskomnadzor then blocked 18 networks that are used by Amazon and Google and host sites it believe Telegram is using to circumvent the ban.

"RKN is embarrassingly bad at blocking Telegram, so most people keep using it without any intermediaries", said Ilya Andreev, COO and co-founder of Vee Security, which has been providing a proxy service to bypass the ban.

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The FSB has been demanding access to messages on Telegram on the suspicion that it was used to organize terrorist activities, including a deadly metro bomb attack in Russia's second-largest city of St. Petersburg last April.

The regulator also blocked some addresses belonging to Google's parent company Alphabet Inc., saying it was helping Telegram evade the government sanctions, according to Bloomberg.

Gmail, Google Search and some Android app push notifications are affected, according to TechCrunch.

"We are aware of reports that some users in Russian Federation are unable to access some Google products, and are investigating those reports", said a spokesperson for the firm.

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The RKN has blocked close to 18m IP addresses in Russian Federation in an effort to ban Telegram, which has been hopping between addresses once RKN revokes access.

Despite the ban, Telegram users were able to continue accessing the service by using VPNs and hopping from various IP addresses on sites like Google to bypass the block.

Some believe that one outcome could be the regulator playing out an elaborate game of chicken with Telegram and the rest of the internet companies that are in some way aiding and abetting it, spurred in part by Russia's larger profile and how such blocks would appear to global audiences.

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