Telegram Banned by Brazilian Supreme Court Over Missed Emails
Brazilian Supreme Federal Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes banned Telegram on Friday from operating in the country and asked the National Telecommunications Agency to notify internet providers to block the messaging app within five days.
This follows a request from the Brazilian Federal Police claiming that Telegram is “notoriously known for its stance of not cooperating with judicial and police authorities in several countries.”
The decision was motivated by Telegram’s failure to comply with court orders, according to local media reports.
Although Telegram complied with some court orders to block accounts used to spread disinformation on its platform, the messaging platform failed to comply with points of the Court’s decision, including providing registration information for the blocked accounts to Justice.
The Federal Police also said it tried to forward court orders and ask Telegram to provide registration data for suspended users via all available channels but received no response.
Telegram’s failure to reply to law enforcement requests eventually led to its ban in Brazil, after it was accused of contempt of justice because it “failed to comply with the judicial command, in total contempt for Brazilian Justice,” as Moraes added.
“The disregard for Brazilian legislation and the repeated failure to comply with numerous judicial decisions by Telegram [..] including those emanating from the Federal Supreme Court – is a circumstance completely incompatible with the current constitutional order, in addition to contradicting expressly legal provision,” Moraes explained in the decision.
Banned due to email “miscommunication”
After the Brazilian Supreme Court decided to block the messaging app, founder and CEO Pavel Durov said that Telegram is to blame and pinned the failure to comply with the Court’s orders on “miscommunication” and missed emails.
“It seems that we had an issue with emails going between our telegram.org corporate addresses and the Brazilian Supreme Court. As a result of this miscommunication, the Court ruled to ban Telegram for being unresponsive,” Durov explained.
“We complied with an earlier court decision in late February and responded with a suggestion to send future takedown requests to a dedicated email address. Unfortunately, our response must have been lost, because the Court used the old general-purpose email address in further attempts to reach us.
“As a result, we missed its decision in early March that contained a follow-up takedown request. Luckily, we have now found and processed it, delivering another report to the Court today.”
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Durov also asked the Court to delay its ruling for at least a few days until Telegram appoints a representative in Brazil to expedite similar issues in the future and allow the tens of millions of Brazilian Telegram users to stay in touch with their friends and family.
“The last 3 weeks have been unprecedented for the world and for Telegram. Our content moderation team was flooded with requests from multiple parties,” Durov added.
“However, I am certain that once a reliable channel of communication is established, we’ll be able to efficiently process takedown requests for public channels that are illegal in Brazil.”