03 December 2019
The Russian government has passed a new law that will disallow the sale of gadgets that do not come pre-installed with Russian software and apps from next year. The exact list of devices included in the "gadgets" categorization will be revealed later but it is expected to include smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and smart TVs. It means Apple iPhones are likely to get affected by the law that will ban their sales in Russia as Apple does not like pre-installed third-party apps on its devices.
As per a BBC report, the law will come into effect starting in July 2020. It should be noted that the law does not affect the usual apps or software that come loaded on devices in any way. It only implies that the manufacturer of these devices should offer Russian apps and software as well.
Oleg Nikolayev, one of the co-authors of the bill said,
"When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them. Naturally, when a person sees them... they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if, alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose."
While the Russian government is of the opinion that the law will be helpful to Russians, not everyone agrees with the same. Some of them have raised privacy concerns as they believe that Russian apps/software can be used for snooping purposes. Additionally, some critics believe that the law will result in many western companies moving out of Russia as they would not want to comply.
This is not the first time we are hearing Russia imposing such kind of laws. Most recently, it passed another law that allowed the Russian government to censor the internet as and when it wants and the way it wants. As you would expect, Russia believes that it is a decision for the welfare of its citizens but not everyone agrees.