Spain suspends its block of Telegram

Posted on March 25th, 2024 by in Privacy basics.

Spain blocks Telegram, then unblocks it


On Friday, March 22, 2024, a Spanish National High Court judge ordered internet service providers (ISPs) in Spain to block access to Telegram, but this ruling was suspended on March 25.

The ruling was made in response to a complaint by Atresmedia, EGEDA, Mediaset, and Telefonica, some of the country’s most prominent media companies, that the privacy-focused messaging app is being used to distribute copyrighted content that belongs to them.

Judge Santiago Pedraz imposed a temporary block while authorities investigated this allegation. However, following criticism from consumer rights groups such as Facua, he agreed to suspend the block pending a report from the Policía Nacional (National Police), which will also include an assessment of the impact such a ban will have on consumers.

What is Telegram?

Telegram is an instant messaging app known for its emphasis on privacy and security, with features such as self-destructing messages and secure channels. It allows users to send messages, images, videos, and files of any type and also supports bots for specific tasks. 

Telegram supports end-to-end encryption (E2EE), ensuring messages can only be read by their sender and  intended recipient(s). However, Telegram is often criticized for not making its messages E2EE by default, and group chats (text or voice) are not E2EE.

Learn more about Telegram

Of particular relevance to the media company’s complaint, Telegram users can create public and private channels that any number of other users can subscribe to. This feature has proved especially popular in repressive countries like Iran, where Telegram has over 40 million users despite government attempts to block the service. However, as these media companies allege, it could also be used to easily disseminate copyrighted material. 

How to access Telegram if it’s blocked in Spain

Although the block has now been suspended pending further investigation, it’s entirely possible that the Spanish government will reinstate it once further evidence has been gathered (and the impact on consumers is more fully understood). 

Even if Telegram ends up being banned in Spain, you can always access it with Proton VPN. The judge ordered Spanish ISPs to block the service, so to access it, you need only connect to a Proton VPN server outside Spain. 

Learn how internet censorship works and how Proton VPN can defeat it

Starting with ProPrivacy and now Proton, Douglas has worked for many years as a technology writer. During this time, he has established himself as a thought leader specializing in online privacy. He has been quoted by the BBC News, national newspapers such as The Independent, The Telegraph, and The Daily Mail, and by international technology publications such as Ars Technica, CNET, and LinuxInsider. Douglas was invited by the EFF to help host a livestream session in support of net neutrality. At Proton, Douglas continues to explore his passion for privacy and all things VPN.

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