The Suspension of Telegram in Spain: A Battle Over Privacy and Censorship

Judge Pedraz reverses decision and halts blocking of Telegram

Judge Santiago Pedraz has made a request to the General Information Commissioner to obtain a report on the characteristics of Telegram before suspending the messaging platform in Spain. The ruling of the National Court judge was brief and did not provide any additional details about the new deadlines or what to expect from this report.

The announcement of the suspension on Friday night caused an uproar among Telegram’s more than eight million users in Spain. The technical difficulty for operators to block such a massive application was unprecedented. Countries have struggled to limit platforms like Telegram, with much content linked to dissident activities in undemocratic or directly illicit or illegal countries.

The initial measure to block Telegram was taken at the request of Mediaset, Atresmedia, and Movistar Plus, who claimed that some of its channels shared copyrighted content. The judge of the National Court, Santiago Pedraz, issued an order so that within three hours of receiving it, operators suspended resources associated with Telegram. However, as of Monday morning, EL PAÍS spoke with no operators who had received any notification.

Telegram is an instant messaging application launched in 2013 by Russian-born businessman Pavel Durov. Since its creation, it has stood out for its commitment to user privacy and freedom, refusing to share information with authorities as Meta does. This has made Telegram a popular communication tool among dissidents in authoritarian regimes such as Russia or Iran, where it has been used to organize protests. However, it has also given rise to channels for sensitive content protected by anonymity: drug sales, far-right activities, disinformation dissemination of violent content and child pornography or terrorism. To date, ISIS claimed responsibility for Moscow’s attack on Friday through its Telegram channel

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