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Putin Signs New Russian Smartphone Sales Legislation, Apple Calls It ‘Equivalent to Jailbreaking’

Putin Signs New Russian Smartphone Sales Legislation, Apple Calls It ‘Equivalent to Jailbreaking’

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed new legislation requiring all smartphones, computers and smart TVs sold in the country to include pre-installed Russian software.

Reuters reports the law was pitched as a way to aid Russian developers in competing with foreign tech firms, and to also save consumers the time and effort required to download software after purchasing a new device.

However, electronic retailers in the country have criticized the law, saying the legislation was passed without consulting them. The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020, is also viewed by some as a way for the Russian government to use pre-installed apps as a way to spy on its citizens.

No reactions have been forthcoming from tech companies, although Apple has in the past threatened to pull out of the Russian market if such a law resulted in a ban on its products if it refuses to pre-install the required apps.

However, an unnamed Apple source reportedly told the Kommersant business daily: “A mandate to add third-party applications to Apple’s ecosystem would be equivalent to jailbreaking. It would pose a security threat, and the company cannot tolerate that kind of risk.”

The Moscow Times says the government will supply a list of the software tech firms will be required to pre-install, and a list of the affected devices.

Putin’s signing the legislation into law is just the latest in a series of moves by the Russian government to crackdown on internet freedoms in the country. The country requires social networks to store data on servers based in the country, while also requiring messaging services to share encryption keys with the government.

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