International: ECtHR announces communicated case on blocking of Telegram messenger app and right to freedom of expression
The European Court of Human Rights ('ECtHR') communicated, on 16 November 2020, the case App. No. 13232/18 Telegram Messenger LLP and Telegram Messenger Inc. v. Russia relating to the blocking of the Telegram application which provides for the possibility of sending messages with end-to-end encryption which cannot be deciphered by anyone else, including the owner-operators of the app. In particular, following a refusal by the owner-operator of Telegram to provide decryption information about suspected terrorists using the app, the District Court of Moscow ordered the blocking of the Telegram app in Russia. This led Telegram LLP to complain before the ECtHR that its blocking and fine for refusing to provide access to confidential private information requested by the Federal Security Service amounted to an interference with their freedom to impart information protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights ('ECHR'). Therefore, the ECtHR asked some questions to the parties, including whether the refusal to disclose technical data which would facilitate the State's access to the confidential private information relates to the freedom of expression of the owners of Telegram.