Russian government asks Apple to hand over source code amid spying concerns

in iPhone edited August 2014
Russia's Ministry of Communications and Mass Media has suggested that Apple should open its source code for government inspection to ensure that the iPhone maker is not complicit in enabling U.S. intelligence services to spy on the world's largest country.

Former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov made the same proposition to German firm SAP, one of the most prominent software consultancies in the world, according to Reuters. The suggestion came during a meeting between Nikiforov, Peter Engrob Nielsen -- Apple's top Russian executive -- and SAP managing director Vyacheslav Orekhov.

"Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 and U.S. intelligence services' public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware," Nikiforov said in a statement.

"Obviously, companies which disclose the source code of their programmes are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to establish cooperation with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products," he added.

Microsoft agreed to a similar proposal in 2010, granting the Russian Federal Security Service access to source code for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SQL Server. The FSS is roughly equivalent to the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S.

The documents revealed by Snowden have caused substantial concern on the part of foreign governments when it comes to trusting the security of U.S. technology, much of it directed at Apple thanks to the massive popularity of the iPhone and iPad. Most recently, Chinese state media called iOS's location tracking features a "national security concern," accusations that Apple vociferously denied.

"Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers," the company said in a response to the Chinese reports. "Privacy is built into our products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world."


  • Reply 1 of 236
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,649member
    Yeah, I'd trust the Russians with Apple's source code. That's a great idea. No fears there. No sir ...
  • Reply 2 of 236
    marskmarsk Posts: 30member
    Well if they really concern about mobile privacy issue, then they should send their troops in to raid Google headquarter!
  • Reply 3 of 236
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) Good luck with that.

    2) The real interest may be with being able to find ways to spy on everyone by making the task of finding security holes easier.
  • Reply 4 of 236
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Two words immediately spring to mind: The first starts with the letter 'F' and the second with the letter 'O'.
  • Reply 5 of 236
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,367member

    Buawhahaha! That's funny Russia. I think Apple would sooner remove all their products from your country first.

  • Reply 6 of 236
    sennensennen Posts: 1,472member

    Ditto to all the comments above. Add a "Ha-haaa" from Nelson.

  • Reply 7 of 236
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,876member
    Once again Snowden is Russia's tool.
  • Reply 8 of 236

    This raises an interesting question for me: If the iOS source code was stolen by hackers and released to the public, how much damage (if any) would that do to iOS security?

  • Reply 9 of 236
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member


  • Reply 10 of 236
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    I'm sure Kaspersky has already obtained a copy of OS X and iOS source code. Those guys are geniuses over there. Along with Snowden's help, I'm sure they don't need to ask these companies for anything, as they can get all they need themselves.
  • Reply 11 of 236
    Riiight. "You will submit your code now to the Kremlin!"
  • Reply 12 of 236

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

    Two words immediately spring to mind: The first starts with the letter 'F' and the second with the letter 'O'.

    a bit more business like...


    ?-? ?????, ?? ?????? ????? ?? ???

  • Reply 13 of 236
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,726member
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

    Once again Snowden is Russia's tool.

    In this case you should thank the NSA for opening this huge can of worms (bag of hurt). If IOS, OSX, all Windows, and Android were, say Chinese, or Korean, or even Russian, and a similar revelation as the NSA spying was revealed, how much would you trust the aforementioned systems to run the government, business and personal computers of the USA? Not much I'd wager and you'd probably feel the request to peek at the source code was a fair request. 


    Its always interesting to turn the tables in the name of perspective. I'm not saying they will, or should cave, but perhaps that the request is not without merit and the burden needs to be on Apple et al's shoulders to prove their case. 

  • Reply 14 of 236

    In Russia, Code Submits YOU!

  • Reply 15 of 236
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    All your code are belong to us.

    But seriously, even if Apple did give them some code, they probably won't understand one line. And besides, Russia doesn't run the world and Apple is not indebted to them for anything.
  • Reply 16 of 236

    Samsung would like the source code too, please.




  • Reply 17 of 236
    danv2danv2 Posts: 29member

    Yeah, so, if Apple pulls all their devices from Russia nobody will care, b/c most won't be able to afford an iOS device after all the sanctions go through. Hell, Apple won't be able to export iOS devices to Russia if even more sanctions are put out.

  • Reply 18 of 236
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 599member
    Pretty funny
  • Reply 19 of 236
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Steve was late? (to the meeting?) Or did you mean 'the late'?
  • Reply 20 of 236
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    **** you, Russia. Hey Snowden, look who you're in bed with: A country that shot down a civilian plane.
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