A court in Moscow has approved a state request to block the Telegram messaging app.

Moscow sought to block the app because the firm refused to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages. Russian Security officials say they need access in order “to monitor potential terrorists”.

Telegram claims the way its service was built meant it had no access to customers’ encryption keys and thus missed a deadline of 4 April to hand over the keys.

Russia’s main security agency, the FSB, has said Telegram is the messenger of choice for “international terrorist organisations in Russia”.

Commenting on the ban Yury Morozov, CEO of BubbleTone noted “This decision has major implications for telecom innovation. Russia is home to thousands of exceptional telecom engineers who have an innate desire to create, but their talents are directly inhibited by decisions to completely ban technology.”

Kirill Maskaev, BubbleTone Head of Public Relations added, “This order sends a negative message to the business world that our country is not open to innovation. Around the globe, technology companies and governmental regulators must strike a balance between privacy and national security but this decision is a drastic blow to innovation. It’s a major disruption to millions of businesses and private citizens. Just as with the blocking of LinkedIn, Russia is only generating negative press by imposing bans.”

BubbleTone’s messaging service, like Telegram, includes end-to-end encryption and roaming services and is tipped to gain market share from Telegram’s legal woes.