European Court of Human Rights: Telegram Does Not Have to Decrypt Messages for Russian Government

In a case known as Anton Valeryevich Podchasov v. Russia the European Court of Human Rights has published the following conclusion upholding privacy and protecting encryption.

80. The Court concludes from the foregoing that the contested legislation providing for the retention of all Internet communications of all users, the security services’ direct access to the data stored without adequate safeguards against abuse and the requirement to decrypt encrypted communications, as applied to end-to-end encrypted communications, cannot be regarded as necessary in a democratic society. In so far as this legislation permits the public authorities to have access, on a generalised basis and without sufficient safeguards, to the content of electronic communications, it impairs the very essence of the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the Convention. The respondent State has therefore overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard.

81. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

The conclusion clearly states Russia is violating Article 8.

Right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence.

The case stemmed from Russian legislation that mandated telecommunication service providers must retain both the actual content of communications and associated metadata for defined durations, without discriminating based on content or users. Furthermore, a 2017 directive from the Russian Federal Security Service demanded that Telegram provide technical details necessary for decrypting communications.

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