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Want to sell that phone in Russia? Install these apps first, Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday that will require manufactures of smartphones, computers, and Smart TVs to install Russian software on them before they can be sold in the country.

The move has raised concerns over possible state surveillance and prompted fears that companies could pull out of the Russian market.

It isn’t known yet which apps will make the list — or for what purposes they will be used.

The legislation states the Russian government will provide a list of the Russian software that would need to be installed before sale.

Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are among some of the manufacturers that would be impacted.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested the move was taken to help Russian developers compete, stating to Russia’s state news agency TASS that the bill was targeting “antitrust activity.” But the Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment, known by its acronym RATEK, warned that some tech firms may simply pull out of the Russian market.

The law, which some have dubbed the “law against Apple” since the company has a firm policy of selling products with third-party apps pre-installed, is expected to come into effect in July 2020.

Russia has taken a number of steps in recent months towards creating its own, independent internet.

In May, Putin signed into law new measures that would enable the creation of a national network that is able to operate separately from the rest of the world. The network remained largely theoretical at the time, with few practical details disclosed.

That law followed a package of legislation that aimed at curtailing internet freedom by allowing authorities to jail individuals for those who insult government officials online or spread misinformation.

Homegrown technologies have also come under pressure in Russia, too. Last year, encrypted messaging app Telegram was banned in the country, and an intense blocking campaign was launched against it as users attempted to bypass the restrictions.

CNN

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