Apple faces ban in Russia over spying concerns

Jul 18, 2023, 3:55 PM UTC
2 mins read
Apple faces ban in Russia over spying concerns
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Russian authorities have taken steps to prohibit government employees from utilizing Apple devices for official state purposes, citing concerns of US espionage, Financial Times reported. The ban, which went into effect on Monday, is enforced by the country’s trade ministry and encompasses all Apple products, including iPhones. While officials can still use these devices for personal reasons, they are prohibited from accessing work-related correspondence. This decision underscores Russia’s efforts to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and align with domestically developed alternatives. Moreover, this move follows allegations made by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) of a spying operation involving US intelligence agencies using Apple devices, a claim that Apple vehemently denies.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Apple took a series of measures in response to the conflict. Initially, the company discontinued access to Apple Pay in the region. Subsequently, Apple suspended all product sales in Russia, expressing solidarity with those affected by the incursion.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) revealed in early June that it had exposed a spying operation conducted by US intelligence agencies, purportedly utilizing Apple devices. The FSB alleged that monitoring software had infected thousands of iPhones, including those used by the country’s diplomatic missions in NATO nations. However, the FSB did not present any concrete evidence to substantiate these claims. Furthermore, they asserted that Apple had collaborated closely with US signal intelligence, providing agents with an array of control tools. Apple promptly denied these allegations, categorically stating that it had never cooperated with any government to create a backdoor in their products and reaffirming that it never would.

The recent ban on Apple devices for state officials is part of a broader strategy by Russia’s government to diminish its dependence on foreign-made technology. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last year, mandating institutions involved in critical information infrastructure to transition to domestically developed software by 2025. This directive aligns with Russia’s vision of bolstering its technology sector and enhancing national security by minimizing reliance on foreign entities.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x