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EU state orders suspension of Telegram

Spain’s top court targeted the service following copyright complaints

Spain’s National Court has ordered internet providers to suspend the use of the Telegram instant messaging service, pending an investigation into the claims of copyright infringement.

Friday’s ruling came after Spain’s four leading media organizations – Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar, and Egeda – filed a complaint arguing that the platform allows users to distribute their content without permission.

According to local media, Judge Santiago Pedraz requested certain information from Telegram’s owners as part of the probe. After the request was not fulfilled, he ordered the access to the app to be blocked effective Monday. The judge described the measure as “precautionary” and cited Telegram’s lack of cooperation. The suspension is expected to last throughout the investigation.

The newspaper El Pais said that Telegram largely remains accessible in Spain, although some users have begun reporting problems with the service since Friday night.

The ruling was met with widespread criticism. Consumer rights watchdog FACUA called it “absolutely disproportionate” and said that the blocking of the popular service will cause “enormous damage.”

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“It would be like shutting down the internet because there are websites that illegally host copyrighted content, or cutting the entire television signal because there are channels that engage in piracy,” FACUA Secretary General Ruben Sanchez said in a statement.

Fernando Suarez, the president of the General Council of Professional Associations of Computer Engineering in Spain, made a similar point, comparing the suspension of Telegram to “completely closing off one province in our country because there was a case of drug trafficking or theft on that territory.”

According to a survey conducted by independent competition regulator CNMC, nearly 19% of Spaniards are using Telegram.

Telegram is a cloud-based service that allows users to exchange text messages, share media files, as well as make voice calls and public live streams. The platform was launched in 2013 by Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov. It reached 800 million active users in 2023, according to industry news website Business of Apps.


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