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New Russian law requires Russian apps to be pre-loaded on smartphones sold in the country

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Russia has passed a new law that mandates all smartphones, computers, and television companies to pre-install Russian-made applications.

However, the legislation is facing opposition within Russia itself with several prominent organizations stating that such a law may drive manufacturers away from the country.

From a cybersecurity and privacy standpoint, it is speculated that such legislation may potentially lead to state-sponsored surveillance.

The Russian lower house of parliament has passed the law for providing the Russian citizens’ a “right to choose.” It is also revealed that any phone, computer, or television that doesn’t come loaded with local-made Russian alternative applications shall be banned from sale by July 2020.

“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,” said the Russian’s legislation’s co-author Oleg Nikolayev.

While the Russian lawmakers make it seem like they are trying to empower the local manufacturers and their citizens, this new law may potentially jeopardize the privacy of Russians. Considering the country’s obtrusive ways and mass surveillance tactics, legislation such as this seems unsettling to many.

Moreover, Russia’s very own Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment have expressed their discontentment with the latest legislation as they believe that it may potentially lead to several Western manufacturers shutting shop and pulling their devices out of Russian market.

The Russian government’s new law is applicable to a myriad of devices including smart TVs, laptops, smartphones, and audio streaming devices. It is reported that the country’s government will soon release an exhaustive list of all the devices that have to comply with the new legislation.

It is to be noted that this latest move is a part of the Russian government’s attempts to isolate the country from the center stage of internet.

The Russian government recently ordered the shifting of servers storing Russian user-data into the Runet area (the Russia internet area). Tech giants such as Apple have agreed to the Russian government’s demands and have started storing user data on Russian servers.

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