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Spanish judge halts suspension of Telegram

By AFP

March 25, 2024 05:02 PM


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A Spanish judge on Monday reversed course and halted his controversial order to temporarily suspend messaging app Telegram in the country pending a police report on the company.

Judge Santiago Pedraz of Spain's High Court, which handles sensitive cases, on Friday ordered a "temporary suspension" of Telegram after media companies complained it was violating their intellectual property rights by allowing users to upload their content without permission.

Consumer rights group Facua criticised the ruling as disproportionate, warning it would cause "enormous damage" to millions of users of the platform, and the app has continued to operate in Spain.

"It is as if they shut down the internet because there are websites that illegally host content protected by copyright," said Facua general secretary Ruben Sanchez.

But on Monday the judge halted his order to suspend the service pending a police report on the platform and "the impact the temporary suspension could have on users", the court said.

Telegram is an encrypted messaging platform that also allows users to set up their own channels to broadcast content.

Pedraz issued the suspension 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.

The media companies -- which Facua named as Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar and Egeda -- complained their material was being used on Telegram without their consent.

The court wanted information that would allow it to identify who was behind the accounts in question.

In Friday's order, the judge said it was the lack of cooperation from the Virgin Islands 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.

Telegram says it has 700 million monthly active users across the world.


AFP


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