Madrid High Court Orders Telegram Suspension In Spain

The Spanish High Court in Madrid has ordered the “temporary suspension” of messaging app Telegram’s services in the country. The ruling came in response to complaints from some of Spain´s largest media companies that users were uploading their content without permission.

The use of Telegram in Spain will be temporarily suspended from today, Monday 25th March after a request by media firms including Atresmedia, EGEDA, Mediaset and Telefonica, in a case alleging violation of intellectual property.

Judge Santiago Pedraz of the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid ordered the suspension while the claims are investigated. It will be the responsibility of mobile phone providers to block Telegram’s services, the court said.

The judge issued the order after officials in the Virgin Islands, where Telegram is registered as a business, failed to respond to a July 2023 court request for information.

In Friday’s order, the judge said it was the lack of cooperation that had led him to take this ‘precautionary measure’. The order met the principles of ‘necessity, appropriateness and proportionality’ he added.

‘No other measure exists that can stop a repeat of the actions denounced,’ he argued.

However there has been widespread condemnation of the order with consumer rights group FACUA issuing a strongly worded response saying the ruling was disproportionate, warning it would cause ‘enormous damage’ to millions of users of the platform.

‘It is as if they shut down the internet because there are websites that illegally host content protected by copyright,’ said Facua’s general secretary Rubén Sánchez in a statement.

Facua expects Telegram to be progressively blocked ‘in the coming hours or days’, as telecom companies are obliged to accept the court order. The investigation is due to last a maximum of six months, until 29 September.

Telegram, created in 2013 by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, is an encrypted messaging platform that also allows users to set up their own channels to broadcast content.

According to the Spanish consumer watchdog, CNMC it is the fourth most-used messaging service in Spain, used by nearly 19% of Spaniards.

The company claims to have in excess of  700 million monthly users worldwide.




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