Apple and Google delete Navalny voting app to appease Russia


As the voting begins On Friday, in the Russian House of Commons or the State Duma, Google and Apple quietly withdrew a troubled anti-establishment voting app from their app store.This is just the latest in a series of concessions Apple special to the Kremlin——From here, their demands only seem to become more radical.

As the technology industry strives to resolve a series of complex human rights and security issues, the incident highlights Uncomfortable compromise Many technology companies went on strike to do business in certain areas, and Increasingly shameless demands Autocratic government.

For weeks, the Russian government has been pressing Apple and Google to remove the voting app, threatening to fine them, and even accusing these companies of illegally interfering in the election. It was created by an associate of the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (Aleksei Navalny) to advise candidates in each of Russia’s 225 constituencies to choose who will defeat the dominant player in each match The best opportunity for the status of the United Russia Party. Voting will continue until the weekend, but the app is no longer available for download, and misleading imposter apps have begun to appear in its place.

According to reports, representatives of the two technology companies met with officials of the Russian Federation Council on Thursday. Associated PressLater, the committee said in a statement that Apple will comply with the delisting requirements. A person familiar with Google’s decision to delete the app said that Russian authorities threatened specific Google employees with serious criminal charges and prosecutions, forcing the company to take action.

Apple did not respond to Wired’s request for comment. Google declined to comment.

“Removing the Navalny app from the store is a shameful act of political censorship,” Tweet On Friday, Navalani’s ally Ivan Zhdanov.Zhdanov also Tweet A screenshot of an email allegedly sent by Apple to the creator of the voting app, which described Navalny’s opposition movement and its supporters as “extremists” and stated that the app “contains content that is illegal in Russia”.

Apple also It is said that the disability Its new iCloud private relay function In Russia today, it masks users’ IP addresses and browsing activities to counter mass surveillance. Currently in the testing phase, Apple has never provided the service in China, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Belarus for “regulatory reasons”, but has launched the service in Russia.

Russia’s actions on voting apps are part of a larger trend. In April, iPhones and other iOS devices sold in Russia began to be equipped Extra step During the installation process, the user is prompted to install a list of applications from Russian developers. These apps are not pre-installed, and users can choose not to download them, but Apple made the change as a concession to Russian law.

It’s not just Russia that puts forward more and more stringent requirements.With its FirewallFor a long time, the Chinese government has exercised significant control over the way international technology companies operate in China, including requiring all foreign services to be run on servers in China owned by Chinese cloud companies. India is also increasingly forced International technology companies including Twitter and Facebook Compromise privacyHowever, political things like the removal of voting guide apps are a worrying and dangerous new area.

This incident also occurred after a separate dispute that Apple plans to scan child sexual abuse materials directly on users’ iPhones and iPads and iCloud.Apple now has The project was postponed after privacy and security advocates argued Foreign governments that require Apple to access customer data may abuse such services. The company has firmly stated that it will not comply with any such requirements.


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