Apple and Google under pressure from the Russian government
Apple and Google under pressure from the Russian government

Google and Apple have removed an app from their iOS and Android stores that aims to coordinate protest votes in the Russian elections this weekend. It's a blow to President Vladimir Putin's opponents, and one that also shows that Silicon Valley has the limits of resistance and opposition to repression across the country. Globalisation.

The New York Times reports that corporate employees in Russia have been accused of ordering a vote for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, an initiative of the Kremlin. Internet.

The app has disappeared from the online store, reflecting the new pressures American tech companies are facing in the country.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that the app was illegal and that Apple and Google operated within the law.

Navalny's adviser Ivan Zhdanov tweeted that his dismissal was a shameful political censorship.

The Russian government launched a campaign against Navalny's application to mobilize voters against Putin's party in the Russian parliamentary elections.

The country's internet censorship system threatened Apple and Google with a fine earlier this month, saying keeping apps in the App Store was an election interference.

Apple has temporarily stopped updating apps. But none of the companies removed it at that time.

Russian censors have blocked websites linked to Navalny, and the pressure on Apple and Google is seen as part of a broader crackdown on foreign technology companies.

Russia threatens Apple and Google to sue local workers

Twitter has been restricted in Russia because it has not removed any illegal content. Earlier this week, a court found Twitter and Facebook (and messaging app Telegram) guilty of illegal content.

In May this year, a court fined TikTok for similar offenses.

Apple has previously been criticized for cracking down on protests and multimedia apps in China. Removing the Navalny app could also undermine one of his arguments in the recent privacy controversy over deleting iCloud photos.

Although Apple said the technology is limited to searching for child pornography. Skeptics fear the company will succumb to expansion pressures from authoritarian governments, and Apple vehemently denies this.

Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins University professor and cryptologist, wrote on Twitter. One of the main criticisms of the digitization system: Apple's defense against removing electoral evidence is that it must comply with the laws of the country in which it operates. However, while lawmakers asked to expand her collection of digital photos, she said she refused to do so. In this case, you want to break the law.

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