So, imagine this: after Facebook CEO; Mark Zuckerberg’s disappointing senate hearing last week, the US decides to ban Facebook. Well, something very comparable has occurred in Russia on Monday as the country’s internet censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, ordered ISPs to block access to the popular messaging application, Telegram.
This order follows a ban issued by a Moscow court on Friday April 13th 2018 on Telegram messenger, due to app’s developers’ repeated refusal to give up encryption keys to the authorities that would let them gain access to messages being sent through it.
First launched in 2013, Telegram has gained the trust of 200 million monthly active users due to many reasons. Most importantly, it is more privacy focused than WhatsApp. Although both applications use end-to-end encryption, Telegram, unlike WhatsApp, does not share users’ data with Facebook. Telegram can be accessed via desktop browsers as well as smartphones and it’s available in 14 languages.
In Russia, in particular, there are many channels which deliver current events, analysis and dirt on politicians and officials anonymously.
Process of Blocking
Many local ISPs commenced blocking Telegram by blocking more than 15 million IPs used by the messaging service which resulted in taking down many of the world’s top used websites and internet services such as Amazon, Google, Viber, Twitch and Spotify as well as major malfunctions in online banking and retail services across the country.
In parallel procedures, Russia’s telecommunications regulator has urged top app stores; iTunes and Google Play to take down Telegram, requested that APK Mirror also quit serving Telegram (which would be the primary alternate for Android users, in case Google caves and removes Telegram from its app store), and even demanded VPN providers to halt Telegram messages.
Using VPN to Unblock Telegram in Russia
“Despite the ban, we haven’t seen a significant drop in user engagement so far, since Russians tend to bypass the ban with VPNs and proxies,” Pavel Durov, the app’s founder and CEO wrote on Telegram. “We also have been relying on third-party cloud services to remain partly available for our users there.”
But as mentioned above and as we discussed before, VPNs have been facing restrictions in Russia. So, is it guaranteed for VPN users to be able to unblock Telegram in Russia? It seems that what is needed here is a VPN provider that implements some unorthodox technologies to maintain its users’ privacy in countries like Russia.
b.VPN’s SMOKE Tunnel
SMOKE tunnel was primarily developed by b.VPN as an anti-detection technology in order to avoid the Great Firewall of China which is known for its fierce DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) allowing it to identify VPN connection and disrupt it.
For the past two years, b.VPN has become one of the most stable, top used VPN providers by netizens in China. Read more on the subject here
And one of SMOKE tunnel’s major advantages is that it is embedded in b.VPN’s OpenVPN clients for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS meaning that it can be used to unblock Telegram on any device.
Getting a b.VPN account will allow you up to 6 simultaneous connections, unlimited access to express speed servers in over 30 geographic locations and unlimited bandwidth.
Free full featured trial is available as well as money back guarantee. Wide variety of payment methods are accepted such as credit cards, PayPal, Webmoney, Mint and Bitcoin.
24/ 7 technical support is reachable via live chat widget on the website and the website is translated into many languages; Russian included.
To sum up
We are very aware of the war against internet freedom not only in Russia but in many other countries. Telegram is not the first and certainly won’t be the last and using VPN is becoming more vital than ever.