Russia has announced that from July 2020, devices that do not contain pre-installed Russian software will be banned from sale. The law, enacted last week, includes smartphones, notebooks and smart TVs that, in addition to containing the original factory operating system, should come with Russian alternatives for user choice. While advocates say the law was made with the aim of developing Russian technology, experts say the measure was taken to keep an eye on and have greater control over the world’s big companies.
The decision taken by Russia recalls the issues surrounding Huawei and the United States. Recently, the U.S. government bought a fight with Huawei and imposed sanctions on the company’s devices. The fight, which is part of the trade war between China and the United States, is also motivated by suspicions that the Chinese company is involved in spying on its American rivals in the service of the Beijing government.
Experts believe that the new law adopted by Russia could drive large companies out of the country, such as Apple. The apple brand offers devices with a closed operating system, which ensures greater security for users and protects them against intrusions. Pre-installing Russian software would amount to a serious security flaw in Apple’s system. This way, the American company could leave the country.
One of those responsible for the measure, Oleg Nikolayev explained that the measure aims to increase competition in the Russian market. For Oleg, the existence of Western applications already installed on the devices tends to make users understand that there are no other options available.
In addition to the measure raising suspicions about Russian government spying on Russian users, Russian manufacturers and distributors criticized the new law, stating that the installation of native software would be impossible and impracticable on some devices.
The measure was passed last week but still needs to be passed through parliament before it can be signed by President Vladimir Putin. The list of all Russian software and devices that should be affected by the decision will still be released by the government.
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