Russia has demanded that Apple and 12 other foreign technology companies open offices in the country. The state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, said companies that violate the law could be subject to advertising, data collection and money transfer restrictions or outright bans.
In July, Putin signed a law requiring foreign social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users to set up offices in Russia. According to Reuters, Roskomnadzor published a list on Monday, which for the first time included the names of the infringing companies. In addition to Apple, it shows Facebook, Google and Twitter, among others.
In addition to having representation in Russia, companies must open an account on the regulator’s website and have a feedback form to interact with Russian users, Roskomnadzor said.
Russia recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over their App Store payment restrictions. In addition, it fines companies such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and Telegram for not deleting content that it considered illegal.
Russia is eager to control the Internet and strengthen its domestic technology sector. In an effort to advance its local technology, the country proposed taxes on foreign-owned digital services and introduced tax breaks for home-grown IT companies.
The Russian government was even able to get Apple to bend its rules for it. Back in 2019, it dictated that all smartphones, computers and other such devices purchased in the country should be preloaded with Russian software. Apple compromised by agreeing to promote the apps proposed by the government, but the user can choose not to download them.
Russia could use this law to exercise more control over technology companies. In addition, the move would make it easier to censor anti-government content. Tech companies are caught in a sticky situation, but they do not want to lose a big market like Russia.
Then again, the same Silicon Valley technology companies have no qualms about bowing backwards to large, affluent and significantly more oppressive markets like China. Do you think Apple and its Silicon Valley counterparts will give Russia the same courtesy? Tell us in the comments.