‘It’s All Over for the iPhone’ – Russian Officials Told to Get Rid of American Cellphones

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Reports suggest Russian officials have been told to get rid of their iPhones by the end of March, amid the sanctions war with the West over Ukraine and increasing tensions over competitor states’ using each other’s tech more broadly.

Mobile phones manufactured by Apple will no longer be allowed at the Presidential Administration, according to a report by Russian daily newspaper Kommersant [Businessman] which has also been picked up by the likes of POLITICO and Newsweek.

Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff at the administration, is said to have issued the order at a seminar, with an attendee quoted by Kommersant saying: “It’s all over for the iPhone: Either throw it away or give it to the children. Everyone will have to do it in March.”

Kommersant noted that the Kremlin has been discussing ” a sovereign mobile ecosystem in Russia… based on technologies independent of Western IT giants” since late last year, motivated chiefly by security concerns. Part of the motivation for the move is “information security”, in other words the perceived ease with which the U.S. can snoop on iPhone users remotely.

The anti-iPhone move, which has not been officially confirmed by the Kremlin as of the time of publication, comes as their is increasing tension over the use of competitor states’ technology not just in Russia but in the West as well — though there concerns tend to focus on Russia’s allies in Communist China.

Tech giant Huawei, in particular, has become a focus of much debate, with even the likes of Britain — traditionally keen to abase itself before Peking (Beijing) in hopes of securing Chinese investment — beginning to baulk at its involvement in key infrastructure such as the 5G network after the Wuhan virus pandemic accelerated the souring of Sino-Western relations.

There are also concerns over Chinese-made surveillance cameras in Britain turning out to have hidden microphones in them, and to be linked to suspected human rights abuses in Xinjiang (East Turkestan).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States even expressed concern that Chinese telecoms equipment may be capable of intercepting and even disrupting military communications last summer.

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