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Judge orders temporary suspension of Telegram service in Spain

Judge orders temporary suspension of Telegram service in Spain

A Spanish judge has ordered the temporary suspension of the country's Telegram messaging service because it has not received data requested as part of an investigation into certain accounts that allegedly violate intellectual property rights, the Justice Ministry said Saturday.

In his order, Judge Santiago Pedraz, member of the National Court, granted a three-hour period to telecommunications and Internet access operators operating in Spain to implement the “temporary suspension of resources linked to Telegram,” once they were informed of his order. resolution.

However, Telegram was still available as of midday on Saturday.

Judge Pedraz ordered this precautionary measure, on Friday, in the absence of a response from the authorities of the Virgin Islands, where the head office of Telegram is registered, to a rogatory letter sent in July 2023.

This request is part of an investigation opened after a complaint by Spanish audio-visual companies that some Telegram accounts were broadcasting content violating their intellectual property rights.

In his request, the judge asked the Virgin Islands authorities to request that Telegram provide “certain technical data that would identify the owners” of these accounts, but he did not receive a response.

“The lack of cooperation from the Virgin Islands authorities, who are only required to communicate with those responsible for Telegram, means that precautionary measures… […] “It must be approved,” says the judge.

Consumer associations such as Vacua criticized this ruling, warning of the “enormous damage” this suspension could cause “to millions of users of this application.”

Its secretary general, Rubén Sanchez, lamented: “It is as if they are shutting down the Internet because there are sites that illegally host copyrighted content.”

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The Telegram application, which according to its website has about 700 million users around the world, has already been temporarily suspended in other countries, including Brazil last year, for failing to provide information to the authorities, in light of the presence of neo-Nazi groups active on its platform. . .