A law that came into effect on Thursday requires the pre-installation of several Russian programs and apps on all smartphones, computers and other devices with an internet connection sold in Russia.
The law states that all connected devices sold from April 1, must be equipped with specific homegrown software, under penalty of a fine from July. No distinction is made between devices produced in Russia or gadgets produced abroad.
The law was announced by President Vladimir Putin in late 2019 and should generally have taken effect on July 1, 2020. It is intended to give its own technology companies an advantage over foreign competition. But critics are sure it is a new attempt by those in power to control the digital world.
The pre-installed services belong to the two Russian internet giants Yandex and Mail.ru. Among the social media are the ‘Russian Facebook variants’ Odnoklassniki and VKontakte. The list also includes programs from security company Kaspersky Lab. In Russia, the controversial law is called the “anti-Apple law.” The American manufacturer always refused to pre-install apps other than his.
Russian authorities have not stopped tightening the thumbscrews on the internet in recent years. They do this by blocking content and websites linked to the opposition and shutting down services that refuse to cooperate with them.