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Russia bans officials from using iPhones for work

Apple devices are no longer welcome in Russia’s government halls, as the Ministry of Industry and Trade banned government employees from using the US-made devices over fears of spying.

The ban was supposed to take effect on July 17th, meaning thousands of government employees must leave their Apple smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches at home.

According to RIA Novosti, Vasily Osmakov, the first deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, confirmed that officials are banned from having work-related correspondence using iPhones. It’s unclear which iPhone models the ban applies to.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade, together with the Ministry of Digital Development and Rostec, the country’s leading state-owned defense conglomerate, will respect the ban immediately, the Financial Times reported.

Russia’s security apparatus, whose members often hold civilian positions in the government, said that Apple’s products can no longer be considered “safe.”

In late March, the Kremlin’s officials were instructed to stop using Apple iPhones over concerns that Western intelligence services could penetrate its software. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that smartphones should not be used for official business.

“Any smartphone has a fairly transparent mechanism, no matter what operating system it has – Android or iOS. Naturally, they are not used for official purposes,” Peskov told reporters in March.

The ban on Apple devices comes amidst Russia’s war in Ukraine, which it launched on February 24th, 2022. Before Moscow launched the invasion, US and British intelligence shared Russia’s detailed attack plans.

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