Is Russia about to outlaw Apple’s iPhone and iPad?

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What is going on between Apple and Russia right now? Did Steve Jobs once kick Vladimir Putin’s dog or something?

First, a giant iPhone statue in St Petersburg that was erected in memory of Jobs was taken down last week after current Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay.

Now there come reports that suggest the iPhone and iPad could both be blocked from sale in Russia from the beginning of 2015.

A story published on the Russian website Progorod hinted that the ban was all down to Apple’s iCloud service, which has many Russian authorities concerned.

It’s all to do with where the data is stored – the Russian authorities, it seems, have a problem with data being stored outside of Russia.

The website Neowin reported in September that Russia “is now requiring internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google to store all Russian data locally, and to comply with censorship laws”.

“Comrade President Putin signed a law back in July that obliged all web services that are collecting data on Russian citizens to store said data in local datacenters. Of course this is not exactly good news for the likes of Twitter and Google who are storing data in much more open and democratic countries across Europe.”

So how is this “ban” going to work? It’s not quite clear yet if and how Russia plans to impose the reported ban on existing devices.

But it does seem possible that Russian ISPs will be ordered to prohibit access to iCloud and similar services.

It’s also possible that sales of new Apple devices could be blocked in the country from January 1, 2015.

The logical solution, of course, is for Apple to just locate some servers in Russia – if the Russian authorities will allow that.

 

Stuart O’Connor