Russia has been trying to get Apple to remove messaging app Telegram from the App Store. A day after Telegram founder Pavel Durov called out the tech giant for failing to update the app globally, Apple allowed it to go through. Durov disseminated a tweet earlier today, thanking Apple and its CEO Tim Cook for "letting us deliver the latest version of @telegram to millions of users." Allowing the Telegram app to be updated angered the Russians, who say that Telegram won't help the Kremlin intercept messages that are sent using the platform.
While Apple did not comply with Russia's demands that it remove Telegram from the App Store, it also appeared to be in no hurry to approve the update which has been in the review stage since April. This led Mr. Durov to believe that Apple was taking Moscow's side in the dispute. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) had demanded Telegram's encryption keys, a request that was naturally declined. The FSB wanted the keys to help it intercept conversations between certain individuals and groups.
Earlier this year, the federal agency in Russia responsible for censoring communications, Roskomnadzor, won court approval to ban Telegram. The agency then sent letters to Apple and Google demanding that the app be removed from the App Store and the Google Play Store. A second letter to Apple sent last month repeated the demand to remove Telegram from the App Store, and also requested that Apple block the app's push notifications sent to users in Russia.
The Roskomnadzor is giving Apple one month to comply with its demands. If Apple fails to do so, the agency told Apple that it will block all App Store "distribution" in Russia. Apple does have a history of caving to foreign governments. Last summer, the company removed VPN apps from the App Store in China
after being told to do so by Beijing. And last month, Apple starting preparing developers of apps using CallKit (Apple's dialer interface made available for third party apps) to make changes after the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Technology requested that CallKit be deactivated in all apps available in China's App Store
Telegram founder Pavel Durov thanks Apple and Tim Cook for putting through an update at long last