Apple agrees to bend to Russian law and store user data on local servers

Posted:
in iCloud
Apple will at last comply with a 2014 Russian law requiring data on citizens to be stored on local servers -- something that could affect both Apple and the country's political dissidents.

Russian Apple reseller


The change was confirmed by Roskomnadzor, the country's telecommunications agency, Foreign Policy said. Under regulations, Apple could be compelled to decrypt data and provide it to security services without a warrant.

Apple reportedly registered with the Russian government on Christmas Day, identifying stored data as including names, addresses, email contacts, and phone numbers. The company didn't mention other aspects of iCloud such as Photos, iMessage, or iCloud Drive, even though those would also be covered under the 2014 law.

The law took effect in 2018, and requires user data to be stored for up to 6 months.

Some human rights activists have worried that iCloud will now be used as a weapon against opponents of President Vladimir Putin and his supporters. His government has quashed most threatening forms of dissent, in some cases ordering the murders of people like former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko and former double agent Sergei Skripal, the latter of whom survived a nerve agent attack.

Apple has been criticized for < ahref="https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/07/18/chinese-icloud-data-moved-to-servers-operated-by-state-owned-telco">bending to similar laws in China, where last year it transferred iCloud data to a local firm, Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry. Like Russia, China is known for imprisoning or killing political dissents.

Executives are presumably determined to remain in the Russian and Chinese markets. The latter generated over $13 billion in the December quarter despite a 26.7 percent revenue drop year-over-year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    You know LinkedIn did not bend and you do not see any Russians on the network who lives in Russia anymore. Access disabled.
    caladanian
  • Reply 2 of 36
    It's all about money, money, money, and money.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 36
    Can you keep the politics out of it? You stated a number of incidents of which none are proven.... have you wandered how other nationalities feel having their data in the US which hardly has clean hands on the world stage does it?

    Stick to the tech news plz...
    edited February 1 mac_dogcincymacmike54williamlondonRayz2016tobianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    So much for principle.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,615member
    It's all about money, money, money, and money.
    Well, what would do if you found out your data was being stored on servers not based in the U.S? Would the U.S. government be within its rights to demand U.S. citizen’s data be stored on U.S. based servers? Why is it somehow nefarious for Russia and China to want their citizen’s data stored on servers within their borders? Yes, those two countries are not shining examples of freedom and human rights but the U.S. has its own issues with privacy, security and freedom. I harken back to the McCarthy years when J. Edgar Hoover had dossiers on just about everybody. Who’s to say the NSA isn’t doing the same things these days. It’s a lot easier to do digitally.
    ablambertmcal27cornchipavon b7caladanianmwhitewilliamlondonRayz2016randominternetpersonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 36
    You know LinkedIn did not bend and you do not see any Russians on the network who lives in Russia anymore. Access disabled.
    Point taken. :(
  • Reply 7 of 36
    mystigomystigo Posts: 106member
    Canada has similar user data requirements. It just isn't run by a brutal dictatorship. The issue here isn't so much the requirement, it is the risk that the government will abuse it.
    racerhomie3llamacaladanianbonobobwilliamlondonbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 8 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,808member
    lkrupp said:
    It's all about money, money, money, and money.
    Well, what would do if you found out your data was being stored on servers not based in the U.S? Would the U.S. government be within its rights to demand U.S. citizen’s data be stored on U.S. based servers? Why is it somehow nefarious for Russia and China to want their citizen’s data stored on servers within their borders? Yes, those two countries are not shining examples of freedom and human rights but the U.S. has its own issues with privacy, security and freedom. I harken back to the McCarthy years when J. Edgar Hoover had dossiers on just about everybody. Who’s to say the NSA isn’t doing the same things these days. It’s a lot easier to do digitally.
    Does US law require Spotify user data linked to US customers be stored within our borders? Honest question. 
    cincymaccaladanian
  • Reply 9 of 36
    mystigo said:
    Canada has similar user data requirements. It just isn't run by a brutal dictatorship. The issue here isn't so much the requirement, it is the risk that the government will abuse it.
    I think Canada is a bit different. By my understanding, it’s only the different levels of government that must keep its citizens’ information off of US servers because of the Patriot Act. That is why there are Azure and AWS data centers popping up.   Individuals like myself and private corporations are free to store their information anywhere. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 36
    I hope encryption is enough to protect important iMessage. But with things like zero day exploits on the lose, I would suggest people living in authoritarian regimes to turn off any electronic devices when communicating offline, and use cheap disposable devices.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    Russia! Russia! Russia! 
  • Reply 12 of 36
    It’s alarming but Apple, like all other companies who want to do business in other countries, has to obey the law of that country or leave. I remember years ago BlackBerry had the same issue with India. 
    cornchipwilliamlondonrandominternetpersonrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 36
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 96member
    It's not alarming to me at all. Apple is a publicly traded company and therefore obligated to get the best return for their shareholders (not challenge countries laws). This is no different than having to follow local laws in other country, as an individual or company. You follow the rules or you don't do business. Besides Apple has no leverage against Russia. Meeting their requirements enables them to gain a foothold and hopefully expand it. it also keeps other countries from being able to completely dominate Russia, which is what will happen.
    bonobobwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,808member
    jimh2 said:
    It's not alarming to me at all. Apple is a publicly traded company and therefore obligated to get the best return for their shareholders (not challenge countries laws). This is no different than having to follow local laws in other country, as an individual or company. You follow the rules or you don't do business. 
    There is no obligation to either stockholders or specific countries to do business in regions where the privacy/security considerations outweigh the monetary benefit. It's a balancing act. If Apple were to come out and state they value user privacy over the potential revenue from Russia for example they could choose to say no thank you without fear of a stockholder uprising. 
    lorin schultzmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 36
    Let’s not forget, the NSA collects just about everything from us. Maybe we should worry first about your own government before we get all sanctimonious about other countries. 
    cincymacdanhwilliamlondonrandominternetpersonuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,399member
    Much ranting about nothing.  So Russia wants data of their users kept in Russia?  How many times did U.S. people wet their underpants when a news report disclosed some of our data being stored on offshore servers?

    Sure, I wouldn't trust China or Russia in what they would do with the data of their citizens.  I also don't trust what the U.S. would do with my data as well, especially with several attempts to legislate back-doors into our encrypted data.

    Stop making a fuss about it.  Every country has dirty laundry.  There's nothing to read here. 
    cincymacavon b7mwhitewilliamlondonrandominternetpersontobianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,808member
    sflocal said:
    Much ranting about nothing.  So Russia wants data of their users kept in Russia?  How many times did U.S. people wet their underpants when a news report disclosed some of our data being stored on offshore servers?

    Sure, I wouldn't trust China or Russia in what they would do with the data of their citizens.  I also don't trust what the U.S. would do with my data as well, especially with several attempts to legislate back-doors into our encrypted data.

    Stop making a fuss about it.  Every country has dirty laundry.  There's nothing to read here. 
    It's a bit different from most countries and more similar to China's security laws. Apple will be required to store on Russian servers the content of user communications, including text, video, and audio messages, for up to six months and gives the Russian government the right to access this data without a court order. There's a question how that effects iMessage. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 36
    Anilu said:
    It’s alarming but Apple, like all other companies who want to do business in other countries, has to obey the law of that country or leave. I remember years ago BlackBerry had the same issue with India. 
    That’s not alarming, that’s reality. You obey the laws of the country in which you do business or you don’t do business there.
    mwhite
  • Reply 19 of 36
    mike54mike54 Posts: 293member
    Russia has every right to, and they should. Apple is US company and the US is being increasingly aggressive on the world stage which makes it own rules for itself and demands other follow different rules. Russia and China and not the ones causing havoc around the world, it is the US. Most US citizens have no idea of extent of the information bubble they live in. Anyway, the NSA/CIA and other departments, not only can get to access to your phone if you're targetted, they have access to all your data if so required.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 36
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,929moderator
    mystigo said:
    Canada has similar user data requirements. It just isn't run by a brutal dictatorship. The issue here isn't so much the requirement, it is the risk that the government will abuse it.
    And that’s missed, or ignored, by folks who are quick to condemn Apple.  I’ve also noticed they never mention any opposition to makers of climbing rope.  After all, a bad actor state might reach for the nearest rope to hang a dissident, so I guess they shouldn’t sell into certain countries.  There’s probably a long list of products that a country might employ in the eavesdropping, incarcerations, and execution of dissidents.  But Apple is such a sweet target. 
    williamlondonSpamSandwich
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