The Telegram ban: How censorship “made in Russia” faces a global Internet
When, in April 2018, the Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor orders to block Telegram — the country’s most popular messenger — Internet users in the country respond with a diverse set of digital resistance tactics, including obfuscation and circumvention protocols, proxies, virtual private networks, and full-fledged hacks. This article analyzes the “Telegram ban” and its ramifications, understanding it as a socio-technical controversy that unveils the tensions between the governmental narrative of a “sovereign Internet” and multiple infrastructure-based battles of resistance, critique and circumvention. We show how, in the context of a Russian Internet which is heavily entwined with and dependent from foreign and global infrastructures, a number of bottom-up, infrastructure-based digital resistances are able to emerge and thrive despite the strategy of effective centralised management that the Russian government seeks to present to the world as its own.
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