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Spain Reverses Telegram Block, But Users Are Alarmed About Overreach

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Spain, a European Union member, has joined – even if only for a short while – China, Iran, Cuba, Pakistan and Thailand in blocking the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

The country’s High Court made the decision and said the ban was temporary, citing alleged copyright infringements happening on the app as the reason. The judge in charge of the case, Santiago Pedraz, first tried to get Telegram to hand over “certain information” regarding the case.

When those behind the app ignored this, the judge issued the temporary ban order that is expected to last several days – while the claims are being investigated. “Lack of cooperation,” is how Pedraz described Telegram’s attitude.

Although the ban was short-lived, it could serve as a dangerous precedent for how European countries treat secure messaging apps, for whatever reason might suit them at a given time.

Meanwhile, the court said it was acting on reports it received from Spain’s biggest media companies – Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar and Egeda – who said Telegram users were uploading their content without permission.

The ban was supposed to go into force this Monday but reports said that as early as Saturday, some mobile operators, who are the party the court designated as the “executioners” of the decision, rushed to block the messenger.

On March 23rd, Judge Santiago Pedraz initiated a provisional prohibition, but by March 25th, he retracted this directive, awaiting the findings of an inquiry.

This has considerable impact on communications in Spain, given that Telegram is the fourth most widely used app of its kind there with more than 8 million users – close to a fifth of the population.

Around the world, the app has some 900 million users. Many in Spain are criticizing the court’s decision as an attack on their freedoms reminiscent of what is happening in totalitarian states.

The post Spain Reverses Telegram Block, But Users Are Alarmed About Overreach appeared first on Reclaim The Net.

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