Moscow | A law that went into effect on Thursday mandated that Russian software or applications be pre-installed on all smartphones, tablets, computers and other connected items sold in Russia.
According to the law, all connected devices sold in the country from April 1 must have this software, whether manufactured in Russia or imported from abroad, will be fined from July.
The law was announced by President Vladimir Putin at the end of 2019 and will first come into force on July 1, 2020. It was presented by the authorities as a tool to promote domestic technology companies facing foreign competition.
But critics say this is another attempt by the power to control the digital space.
The preinstalled services are mainly owned by two Russian internet giants, Yandex and Mail.ru. Social networks include “Russian Facebook” Odnoklassniki and V.Contacte. This list also includes programs from Kaspersky Lab.
In Russia, this controversial law, known as the “Anti-Apple Act”, has always been an American manufacturer’s refusal to preinstall applications other than its own on its devices.
Russian authorities have been tightening the screws on the Internet in recent years, blocking content and sites linked to the opposition, but also refusing to cooperate with them when the Internet is one of the last places of freedom for critical voices.