Russia officially banned the secure message app Telegram in April, and now it appears the app is facing problems in other regions. According to a message posted on Telegram by the company's CEO Pavel Durov, Apple has been "preventing" Telegram iOS app updates since April.
The version of the app currently in the App Store is two months old, and Durov claims features such as stickers will not work properly in iOS 11.4 (which was pushed out earlier this week) due to the lack of updates.
This comes after Roskomnadzor—Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media—ordered a block of the messaging app in the country in April. Russia's Federal Security Service wanted access to Telegram's users' encrypted messages, saying it was necessary to monitor potential terrorists. Even after a Russian court ruled that the app should be blocked in Russian territories, Telegram refused to hand over encryption keys that would give Russian officials access to user data.
Shortly after, Russia also blocked a number of IP addresses from Amazon and Google. It was later confirmed that Amazon's addresses were blocked "due to the fact that the Telegram messenger started using them to bypass the lock in Russia."
But it remains unclear why Telegram's Russian problems would affect the app in other regions. Durov also claims that the company has been "unable to fully comply with GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] for our EU-users" by the May 25 deadline due to its inability to update the app in the App Store. That means European Telegram users won't have the same level of control over their private data as they would by using another app that's in compliance with GDPR. Also, the Telegram iOS app could be more at risk since it isn't getting bug fixes and security patches.
Apple has one month from May 28 to remove Telegram from the App Store in Russia. Ars has reached out to Apple for further comment.