Judge Santiago Pedraz Seeks Clarification on Telegram Ban: A Look at the Messaging App’s Features and Impact

Judge Pedraz reverses decision and halts blocking of Telegram

In a surprising move, Judge Santiago Pedraz has decided to request a report from the General Information Commissioner before taking any action to block the popular messaging platform Telegram in Spain. The magistrate wants the report to provide detailed information on the characteristics of Telegram and the potential impact of a temporary suspension on its users.

The announcement that Telegram would be suspended caused an uproar among its more than eight million users in Spain. Operators faced unprecedented technical challenges in trying to block such a massive application. Other countries have attempted to limit similar platforms, but with little success. Many countries have failed to restrict content linked to dissident activities in undemocratic or illegal regimes.

The initial decision to ban Telegram was made at the request of media groups Mediaset, Atresmedia, and Movistar Plus, who claimed that copyrighted content was being shared on some of its channels. However, this measure was met with criticism from many users who valued Telegram’s privacy and freedom features. Judge Santiago Pedraz issued an order suspending resources associated with Telegram within three hours of receiving it, but operators consulted by EL PAÍS had not yet received any notification as of Monday morning.

Telegram is an instant messaging app launched in 2013 by Russian-born businessman Pavel Durov. It quickly gained popularity for its user privacy features and refusal to share information with authorities like Meta’s WhatsApp. Over time, it became a communication tool used by dissidents in authoritarian regimes such as Russia and Iran for organizing protests and sharing sensitive content protected by anonymity, including drug sales, far-right activities, disinformation dissemination, violent content sharing child pornography or terrorism.

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