Russia bans government officials from using iPhones in phone hacking fear

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Russian government employees have been barred from using iPhones for official work amid concerns over spying operations.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) earlier in June announced that it had found monitoring software infecting a number of the iPhones in use by the country’s officials, including diplomatic workers residing in NATO countries. 

Now, a report by the Financial Times claims Russian officials can continue to use iPhones for their own personal use, providing that they don’t access work content such as emails on the Apple hardware.

iPhone Russia ban

The FSB claimed in June that the US had been working with Apple to build in control and spy tools, however the company previously noted that it has “never worked with any government to build a backdoor into any Apple product, and never will.”

Apple has spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent months, andhas also stopped Russian bank cards from working on Apple Pay (Google did the same for Google Pay) and ultimately refused to trade in the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also suggested that the country should reduce its reliance on Western technologies, as it seemingly strengthens its bonds with China.

In March this year, Russian presidential election officials were told that they would have to give up their iPhones almost immediately, instead moving toward Android devices. 

Even so, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed concerns about all types of smartphones, which risk exposing sensitive information. At the time, many expected the ban to be the precursor to a shift toward Aurora, a Russian telecoms-developed, Linux-based mobile OS.

Putin has also asked that institutions involved in “critical information infrastructure” migrate to Russian-developed software.

Apple did not immediately respond to TechRadar Pro’s request for comment against Russia’s allegations.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!