With Love from Putin’s Russia

After new reports come out last month that Apple may get potentially banned from Russia because of a new legislation, reports are coming in that major tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are making plans to leave Russia altogether in view of the new legislation which will kick in from 1st Jan, 2015. Microsoft started the trend  when the Redmond based company decided to move its Skype development team from Moscow to Prague and Adobe followed soon after, completely shutting down all operations in mainland Russia.

Putin’s Behest

If ITWire is be believed, Russia’s new law that is the cause behind all of these migrations, is being made at the personal request of Russian premier Vladimir Putin. These new rules which are explained in our previous post here, make it mandatory for companies gathering data on Russian users to store the data on servers within Russian territory so that it is accessible to Russian authorities with ease. This has caused Microsoft to move its Skype development team to Prague and Google to move its own R&D teams. Adobe on the other hand will be relying on cloud computing to carry on its Russian activities and therefore does not see the need to maintain any physical offices.  By the looks of things, the tech companies that do decide to remain in Russia following these regulations, are expected to face a torrid time ahead.

“The Internet began initially when the Internet first appeared as a special CIA project and is still being developed that way. The rest is what has made it to the market and has developed to huge proportions. Nevertheless it is initially a military program, a special program, and special services are still at the center of things,” Putin said in April at a local television. Putin sternly believes that foreign spying claims are threats to be worried about and hence is keen to enforce these rules. Putin accused companies such as Google and Microsoft of collecting user data and handing it to the CIA and even recommended Russians to avoid using their products because everything was monitored.

Counter View

It is being touted that these companies are withdrawing their presence for fear of exposure to Russian authorities. If data is stored on local servers, the Russian authorities will get access to it eventually – this is being touted as the reason for these companies to move their resources outside the country. But the question remains, each of these companies made a hue and cry about how their systems are completely secure against any government interference. Then why the retreat ? If these companies really are not hand in glove with the NSA, why are they trying to stay safe from Russian scrutiny ?

This only gives credit that the spy saga disclosed by Edward Snowden is far from dead. The Russian premier, though criticised might actually be the only head of government taking any concrete steps to protect its citizens.

Will Apple follow next…