A new law set to go in force in 2020 might lead to a ban on not only Apple iPhones but also other products with foreign software. The lower house of the Russian Parliament has passed a new legislation for electronics that run apps to have pre-installed Russian software, as per a report by BBC. This law will be applicable for certain devices selling in the country from July 2020. The European Union has a similar law which has made Android OEMs to let users select their choice of apps while setting up the device.
According to the bill, electronics such as smartphones (including iPhones), computers, and smart TVs must be sold with locally-made Russian software pre-installed. This means apart from the first-party software, the devices should have Russian alternatives pre-installed in order to qualify for their sale or else they will be banned in the country from July 2020.
The supporters of this legislation say it is aimed at promoting Russian technology and is also targeted at firms misusing people’s data. The complete list of electronic/gadgets that come under this law and the Russian-made software that needs to be pre-installed is still not determined by the government.
As per Interfax News Agency, Oleg Nikolayev, one of the bill’s co-authors said, “When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them. Naturally, when a person sees them… they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if, alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose”.
As expected, the law has faced severe criticism from manufacturers and distributors across Russia. The Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment (RATEK) has also mentioned that it is not possible for many international companies to install Russian-made software and for this reason, they might exit the market. Some people are concerned that this local software could be used to spy the citizens.
This is not the first time Russia has passed a law like this. The country has been introducing rigorous internet laws for the last five years. The last one was just passed a few weeks back which enabled officials with power to restrict internet traffic.