Russia’s censorship agency to check Apple products compliance with national security

The watchdog has bought 54 devices from “unfriendly countries” for anti-surveillance tests.

RosKomNadzor - Russia’s federal service for supervision of communications, information technology and mass media - has spent 2.3 million rubles (24,000 US dollars) to buy 54 communication devices from “unfriendly countries” that would be checked for compliance with the Russian national security policy. 

In late July, a company called AiTi Resurs was awarded the contract to import 16 iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 smartphones, plus another four iPhones of unidentified model, as well as four iPod tablets, according to the public acquisition portal Zakupki

RosKomNadzor also wants 21 smartphones from other manufacturers, including Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung, Vivo, and Oppo, as well as six Huawei tablets, but let the supplier ship “equivalent models” operating on Android, if necessary. 

Apple has been particularly targeted and its products were banned in the Kremlin administration of President Vladimir Putin, in the ministries of health, transportation, industry and commerce, information technologies, and RosTech, the technology agency, according to Vedomosti

Valentina Matvyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council, upper chamber of the puppet Russian parliament, has instructed the legislative body to stop using iPhones for work, claiming that they were being tapped by US security services with Apple’s permission.

Although the official reason for this purchase, which under normal circumstances would go unnoticed, is the anti-surveillance testing and protocol safety research, it could be regarded as a banal method to bypass a formal boycott of western high-tech goods in Russian governmental institution.

In real life, the ruling class in Russia never stopped using western-made products.