Russians are flying paper planes to protest Telegram being banned

Thousands of Moscovites took to the streets Monday in support of encrypted messaging app, Telegram.
May 1, 2018, 8:52pm

Thousands of Moscovites took to the streets Monday to fly paper airplanes, a symbol of support for encrypted messaging app, Telegram, which the Kremlin recently banned.

At least 15 million Russians, including some government officials, use Telegram, known for its paper airplane logo. While some can still access to app through VPNs, the state communications watchdog sued Telegram in April and later blocked access after the company wouldn't hand over its encryption keys.

The request for access to users' secret messages came from Russia’s FSB, the successor agency to the KGB, which called Telegram the messenger of choice for “international terrorist organizations in Russia." The popular messaging app is a favorite of ISIS and also faces restrictions in Iran, where anti-government protesters used Telegram to organize earlier this year.

But protesters said blocking Telegram only amounts to an attack on internet freedom. Pavel Durov, Telegram’s founder and CEO, praised the protesters and called their show of support "unprecedented." Telegram representatives even want to escalate the matter to the European Court for Human Rights.