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29 Nov, 2023 14:45

Russian officials face Apple ban – media

The Emergencies Ministry has reportedly joined a drive to stop the use of devices produced by the US tech giant
Russian officials face Apple ban – media

The Russian Emergencies Ministry has instructed employees not to use Apple devices for work purposes, imposing a full ban at the department’s central and regional HQs, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The outlet cited an internal document issued by Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Kurenkov, which comes into force on January 10, 2024. A source told Izvestia that Apple devices were deemed unsafe, because the company stores user data outside Russia, potentially exposing classified information to leaks. The ministry commented that its paperwork is already organized in a way that protects sensitive information.

The source said that employees who own iPhones normally use them both for personal and work communications, so the impending ban on the devices from workspaces would be a headache for them.

Other Russian news services reported that an instruction discouraging Apple tech ownership had been received at the ministry’s regional offices.

Several Russian governmental agencies have taken similar measures to restrict or ban the use of iPhones, iPads and other parts of the Apple ecosystem for work purposes. Officials from non-executive branches of the government were warned against the band as well.

The Russian security service FSB claimed in June that it had uncovered a major CIA operation to snoop on people using Apple devices, including diplomats and others granted access to sensitive data. It suggested that the firm itself was complicit by exposing “software vulnerabilities” to enable government breach.

“The declared policy of ensuring the privacy of personal data of Apple users has nothing to do with reality,” the Russian agency stated at the time.

Apple has technically left the Russian market amid sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its allies over the Ukraine conflict. But its products remain available through re-export schemes.

A market analysis in August estimated that iPhone sales in the first half of this year surpassed $1 billion, which made Apple the leading mobile brand in Russia, ahead of China’s Xiaomi and South Korea’s Samsung.