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Judge drops own decision to suspend Telegram in Spain

By AFP

March 25, 2024 08:08 PM


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A judge on Monday dropped his own order to temporarily suspend the Telegram messaging app in Spain as part of a probe into users illegally sharing media content, describing the measure as "excessive".

Judge Santiago Pedraz of Spain's Audiencia Nacional court on Friday had ordered the "temporary suspension" of Telegram after several media companies complained it was violating their intellectual property rights by letting users upload content without permission.

Despite the order, the temporary suspension did not appear to have taken effect over the weekend.

Early on Monday, Pedraz halted the order pending a police report on the platform and how the suspension could affect users, a court statement said.

After receiving the report, he issued a new ruling annulling the order, saying such a suspension would be "be excessive and disproportionate".

Enacting such a measure would "clearly be detrimental to millions of people who use it, the vast majority of whom are not linked to any illegal activity," he wrote, acknowledging it would also have "certain economic impact" on the firms who use the channel for communication activity.

Consumer rights group Facua had criticised Friday's order as disproportionate, warning of the potential for "enormous damage" to millions of users while pointing out the suspension had never taken effect.

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

Pedraz issued the suspension 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 initial complaint was made by Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar and Egeda who complained their material was being used on Telegram without their consent, Facua said.

Pedraz had wanted information about who was behind the accounts in question.

In Friday's order, he pointed to a lack of cooperation from the Virgin Islands saying the suspension was a "precautionary measure".

"No other measure exists that can stop a repeat of the actions in question," he wrote.

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


AFP


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