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Indonesia blocks messaging app 'full of terrorist propaganda'

The biggest Muslim-majority nation has blocked Telegram over terrorism fears [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 July, 2017

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Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority nation, has blocked Telegram app over fears it was being used to spread "terrorist" propaganda as the Islamic State group lose territory in Syria and Iraq
Indonesia has blocked access to the encrypted messaging service Telegram, over concerns that it was being used to spread "radical and terrorist propaganda" in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.

The move comes amid heightened concerns over the growing presence and influence of the Islamic State group in Southeast Asia as the hardline Sunni militants loses territory in Syria and Iraq.

Indonesia itself has seen a resurgence in home-grown militancy, inspired in large part by IS; a twin suicide bombing at a Jakarta bus station in May killed three police officers and injured several others. It has stepped up anti-terrorism cooperation with Malaysia and the Philippines.

"This has to be done because there are many channels on this service that are full of radical and terrorist propaganda, hatred, ways to make bombs, how to carry out attacks, disturbing images, which are all in conflict with Indonesian law," the communications ministry said in a statement on its website.

Telegram is a messaging platform known to be popular among Islamic State sympathisers, who use chatrooms with hundreds of members as well as private conversations.

The communications ministry added that both the mobile application and the desktop version of Telegram would be blocked throughout Indonesia. It did not say if it would take similar action against other messaging platforms.

Telegram CEO, Pavel Durov, said the firm will investigate the Indonesia charges.

"We have never received any requests/complaints from the Indonesian government," Durov said on Twitter.

Many messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Telegram offer end-to-end encryption from sender to recipient, which means not even the companies providing the platform can see the messages.

Security officials in several countries have complained that the apps provide a safe space for militants to communicate with each other. Several governments, including those of Australia and Britain, have urged technology companies to do more to help security agencies thwart security threats.

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