Dec 2, 2019

Putin signs law making Russian software mandatory on consumer electronics

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted legislation on Monday that requires all consumer electronics sold in the country, including smartphones, laptops and smart TVs, to come pre-installed with Russian software, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Electronics retailers, including Apple, Samsung and Huawei, have criticized the law, claiming the government adopted the legislation without consulting them.

Details: The law, effective next year on July 1, will require foreign companies to install a list of Russian applications and software that the government will announce at a later date.

  • The government justified the law as a means of helping Russian IT firms compete with foreign companies and sparing consumers from having to download software on a new device.

The big picture: The law follows several strict internet or electronics laws or rules adopted by the government in recent years, per Reuters.

  • Russia announced Monday that it plans to spend 2 billion rubles ($31 million) to replace the online encyclopedia Wikipedia with its "Great Russian Encyclopaedia" after Putin deemed Wikipedia unreliable, Reuter reports.
  • Last week, Russia announced that Apple would show Crimea as part of Russian territory in its maps and weather apps when they are used inside of Russia. The United Nations still recognizes Crimea, which Russia invaded in 2014, as belonging to Ukraine.
  • Last month, the UN adopted an anti-cybercrime pact backed by China, North Korea and Russia, against the wishes of U.S. and pro-civil liberty groups. Axios' Joe Uchill writes that the resolution could give more legitimacy to governments pursuing domestic networks detached from the global internet.

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Apple to show Crimea as Russian territory for users within the country

Crimea viewed on Apple Maps outside of Russia. Screenshot: Apple Maps

Apple will now show Crimea as part of Russian territory in its maps and weather apps when they are used inside of Russia, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: The international community widely condemned Russia when it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, resulting in its suspension from the G8 and sanctions from the U.S., European Union and others. The United Nations has adopted a resolution that recognizes Ukraine's ownership of Crimea and Russia as the region's occupying power.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

Russia and China get a big win on internet "sovereignty"

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations adopted an anti-cybercrime pact backed by China, North Korea and Russia Monday, against the wishes of U.S. and pro-civil liberty groups.

The big picture: For years, the United States has squared off with more repressive nations over global internet norms. The U.S. wants countries to offer citizens maximal access to the global internet, while Russia and others argue that countries should have "internet sovereignty" to block websites critical of governments and to punish online dissidents.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Putin addresses U.S. impeachment inquiry, 2020 interference

Putin in the Siberian Taiga forest in October. Photo: Kremlin Press Service/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to address the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday when he told an economic forum in Moscow the "internal political struggles" in the U.S. are having a "negative effect" on American relations with Russia.

Hopefully, no one accuses us of election interferences in the United States. Now they're accusing Ukraine. Well, let them deal with that themselves."
— Vladimir Putin's remarks at the Russia Calling summit
Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019