Russia is strong-arming Apple; Moscow is demanding control over users’ personal data

“The Russian security services could soon have access to the personal data of thousands of Apple users in Russia, following the tech giant’s decision to comply with Russian law and store user data on servers in the country,” Amy MacKinnon reports for Foreign Policy.

“Roskomnadzor, the Russian government agency that oversees media and telecommunications, has confirmed for the first time that Apple Russia is to adhere to a 2014 law that requires any company handling the digital data of Russian citizens to process and store it on servers physically located in Russia,” MacKinnon reports. “Under Russian counterterrorism laws, Apple could be compelled to decrypt and hand over user data to security services on request.”

“With Apple products now able to gather vast quantities of information on their customers’ lives, the company has publicly positioned itself as a champion of data privacy, and CEO Tim Cook has condemned the ‘weaponization’ of personal data,” MacKinnon reports. “But in China and now Russia, Apple has quietly complied with local laws that could leave vast quantities of user data within the reach of the state.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a can of worms. Not every country offers the same rights as others.

We follow the law wherever we do business.Apple CEO Tim Cook, August 1, 2017


  1. It is only the tip of the iceberg.
    You can take it for granted that the EU countries will do the same, and it has already started in that many categories of data cannot be stored in the cloud outside the country.

    In general, users must be mad to trust their data to US based companies, when we over and over again witness to how these data are misused both by corporations and the alphabet agencies.

    1. Good point and I’d like to add to that that once such data is acquired by one nation, it will get out to others, through spying or deals.

      Some countries are better than others when it comes to human rights, those known as superpowers, not as much surprisingly enough.

      Good posts on this thread, thanks folks.

    2. This isn’t going to be good news for cloud based service providers like Amazon. I wonder whether the same analysts who have recently stacked Apple will turn on Amazon? I think we all know the answer…

  2. Apple’s hardline on privacy vs their desire to remain profitable puts it in the position to only really have two choices. Give in and have different privacy policies for each country or no longer sell devices and services that do not comply with the laws in those countries.

    1. I think that it is important to note that Apple is making strong efforts to avoid collecting personal data. Apple is trying to push as much functionality as feasible from the cloud to the device to maximize the protection afforded by the Secure Enclave chip. But there are limits to how much functionality can be pushed down to a mobile device.

      Storage, in particular, is a challenge – for most users their media, files, etc., exceed the storage capacities of even the most robust mobile device. It will take multiple terabytes for many people.

      Interconnectivity is another challenge. iCloud enables more seamless interaction of multiple devices – laptop, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch… If each device stands alone as an island, then interconnectivity becomes a problem. Do you have to duplicate all of your information on all devices? What an inefficient nightmare!

      In terms of personal privacy, iCloud is a weak link in Apple’s chain of protection. The data is stored on servers and, in an increasing number of cases, countries are demanding that these servers must be located within their country and be accessible to their government and law enforcement organizations.

      As long as governments and law enforcement organizations have ready access to your aggregated data, there is no true personal privacy.

  3. Nobody is forcing any Apple user to share anything with anybody. Just restrict yourself to local storage and set your privacy settings to avoid sharing anything with anybody offsite. If you choose to use cloud storage, be aware that any service that continues to do business is in compliance with local laws. In the US, access generally requires judicial review, but few if any other countries have limits on access as strict as the US Fourth Amendment.

    At least you have a choice. Most Android and Chromebook users are effectively forced to use Google apps with cloud storage if they want to do any real work

      1. Personally, I believe that Apple should have included SD card capabilities on Apple i-devices early on. It would be a useful and inexpensive way to great a backup as well as to expand internal storage.

        The lack of an SD card slot is not nearly enough to push me away from Apple mobile devices. But I would welcome the addition of that capability in future generations of Apple devices.

  4. Why can’t they store it encrypted on Russian servers in Russia, but only the user had the key. Sort of how Apple told the FBI even they couldn’t open an iPhone a terrorist had locked.

    1. Why? Because the Russian government says they can’t do it that way. Apple has no real influence on local laws. It must either comply with them or withdraw from the market.

      1. How do you know that’s the case? How do you know for absolute certain that what tpmchugh cannot be implemented.

        Roskomnadzor and Apple have only stated that the data will be stored locally. There is no mention of Roskomnadzor having access to any encryption technologies or keys.

        I would not be surprised if what you, TxUser, say is true, but I’ve seen absolutely no concrete evidence of this.

    1. Condescending trumpists take note: your red hat hero was only too happy to promise a reduction in sanctions on Russia if former KGB chief Putin would put his troll network to work on the Trump campaign. Ever since the election Trump has acted like Putin’s poodle. You cannot distinguish Trump foreign policy from what commies have been trying to do for the last 20 years.

      Wake the fuck up, dumbasses. Trump isn’t standing up to Russia on anything.

        1. The witch hunt keeps finding witches who put partisan electioneering above national security.

          Is this what you are going to attempt to defend?

          When Mueller reveals the facts, and he will, it will be interesting to see how Faux News afficianados spin it. Right now the only thing brainwashed Alt Right people like you can do is engain character assassination of not just liberals but also republicans independents and moderates who are sick of the incessant Trump lies.

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