The Viber messenger may be blocked in Russia after Telegram, if it does not provide the keys to decrypt user correspondence to the FSB. This was stated in an interview with TASS by the head of the Ministry of Communications Nikolai Nikiforov.
“This is a matter for the Federal Security Service, because the authority with regard to such specific issues in the execution of the order, for the provision of encryption keys, is the authority of the FSB – if they have problems with the provision of encryption keys, they can also apply to the court and obtain a similar court decision as for Telegram”.Nikolai Nikiforov, Minister of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation
Roskomnadzor is taking steps to block the Telegram instant messenger since April 16, but many users in Russia still have service, albeit with interruptions. Telegram administration’s refusal to provide the Federal Security Service with encryption keys to the correspondence of several users caused the court case to rule in their favour.
Providing security services with the encryption keys is the law. However, neither Viber, WhatsApp, nor Facebook Messenger are in this registry. In November 2017, the head of Roskomnadzor, Aleksandr Zharov, said that the agency was holding consultations on this issue. The official did not explain the use of different approaches to the regulation of the same services.
In the event that Viber were included in the register, the FSB would then require the administration of the Japanese-owned Rakuten service keys to decrypt the correspondence. Viber uses end-to-end encryption for cryptographic protection, where keys are stored exclusively on users’ devices and are not accessible – or so the owners of the platform claim.