i-Spy? Russia slaps ban on use of Apple iPhones for officials
Russia has prohibited government officials from using Apple iPhones at work due to surveillance concerns, fearing exploitation by US intelligence agencies.
Russia has slapped a ban on Apple iPhones and other Apple devices for government officials, citing concerns over potential surveillance by the United States. The country's Federal Security Service (FSS) has directed thousands of officials to discontinue the use of iPhones and iPads, as reported by the Financial Times. This ban will be effective starting from July 17 and it has been initially enforced at the trade ministry.
Security officials advocate for alternative devices
Sources indicate that security officials within various ministries, particularly FSS employees holding civilian positions such as deputy ministers, have expressed that iPhones are no longer considered secure. They are urging officials to find alternative devices. The FSS and government officials strongly believe that American counterparts may exploit Apple equipment for the purpose of wiretapping. While there may be some resistance to this change, given the long-standing concerns of the FSS regarding the use of iPhones for professional contacts, the ban is expected to proceed.
Growing apprehension and accusations against Apple
This prohibition follows a previous directive from the Kremlin in March, which urged officials to discontinue the use of Apple products due to fears of potential vulnerability to hacking by the United States. Moreover, the Russian government has recently accused Apple of colluding with US intelligence agencies, an allegation that Apple vehemently denies. The company asserts that it has never cooperated with any government to introduce backdoor entry into their products.
The restriction on Apple devices within key ministries and institutions highlights the increasing apprehension within the Kremlin and the Federal Security Service regarding heightened espionage activities by US intelligence agencies targeting Russian state institutions.
Furthermore, a Rostec spokesperson confirmed that the prohibition applies to all Apple devices. Personal use of these gadgets, however, is still permitted. This differentiation between professional and personal usage underscores the focus on securing official government operations while allowing individuals to continue using Apple products for personal purposes.