Judge Santiago Pedraz Holds off on Blocking Telegram in Spain, Seeks Report from Commissioner: What you Need to Know

Judge Pedraz reverses decision and halts blocking of Telegram

Judge Santiago Pedraz has decided to request a report from the General Information Commissioner before blocking the Telegram messaging platform in Spain. The magistrate intends for the report to explain the exact characteristics of Telegram “as well as the impact that said temporary suspension may have on users.” The ruling of the National Court judge is a brief paragraph where he does not give any other details about the new deadlines or what to expect from this report from the General Information Commissioner’s Office.

The announcement of the suspension this Friday night caused an unprecedented stir among the more than eight million users that Telegram has in Spain. The technical difficulty for operators to block an application of this magnitude was extraordinary. Other countries have failed in their attempts to limit a platform like Telegram, with much content linked to dissident activities in undemocratic or directly illicit or illegal countries.

Telegram is an instant messaging application, launched in 2013, and directed by Russian-born businessman Pavel Durov. Since its inception, it stood out as an alternative to WhatsApp for the freedom and privacy of the user, refusing to share information with the authorities, as Meta does. This made Telegram a communication channel used by dissidents in authoritarian regimes such as Russia or Iran, where it has been used to organize protests. But it has also caused channels of sensitive content to flourish, protected from anonymity: drug sales, far-right activities, disinformation, dissemination of violent content, child pornography or terrorism. Without going any further, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Moscow attack this Friday on its Telegram channel.

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