The iPhone Could Be Banned in Russia by 2020
A ‘Digital Iron Curtain’ is descending over part of the world
Russia’s State Duma just announced that starting next July, all electronics in Russia (including smartphones, computers, and smart TVs) will be required to come preinstalled with apps made by Russian tech firms.
According to Alexander Yushchenko, a Communist Party representative, one contender for preinstallation is Gosuslugi — the Russian government services app. However, a complete list of required apps is yet to be published.
The law does not state that non-Russian software must be banned on devices, just that such apps must be installed alongside Russian software. However, vendors who fail to comply with these rules will be fined in excess of $3,000, and could eventually be banned from the Russian marketplace if they commit repeat offenses.
A brief summary of the extensive history of internet censorship in Russia
Over the past few years, Russia has ramped up its attempts to introduce increasingly strict laws in an attempt to gain a tighter grip on the internet traffic that passes through the country.
According to the most recent publication of Freedom on the Net, a yearly report carried out by the NGO Freedom House, the internet in Russia is classified as “not free” in comparison to the rest of the world. For the past six years, Russia’s internet freedom score has been on the decline — and it’s not difficult to understand why.
In November 2017, the Russian government implemented a bill that banned all websites designed to circumvent internet filtering. This included VPNs, anonymizers, and instructions that advised users on how to circumvent blocking.
In April 2018, the Russian authorities used anti-terrorism laws to introduce a nationwide ban on the encrypted messaging app Telegram — an app founded by two Russian brothers that had over 10 million Russian users — under anti-terrorism laws because it refused to provide encryption keys to the Federal Security Service. This was a hugely controversial issue. In response, Pavel Chikov, a lawyer representing Telegram in the case, wrote on his Telegram channel: “They have…