Apple and Google have reportedly pulled vote-assisting smartphone apps from the Russian App Store ahead of the country’s parliamentary election. Reuters.
The ‘smart voting’ app was created by supporters of the Russian government and Alexei Navalny, an imprisoned critic of President Vladimir Putin. Those supporters intended to use the mobile app to coordinate a tactical voting campaign to oppose the United Russia party, which favors winning.
Earlier in the month, the Russian government demanded Google and Apple remove the app from their respective App Stores – failure to do so will be considered election interference.
Analysis: Politics pulled Apple and Google out of neutrality
Apple and Google each have a complicated history of dealing with the demands of governments when providing services in their countries. In 2020, Apple compliance With Chinese authorities suspending updates to apps that weren’t officially approved, while earlier in 2021, the company accepted To store customer data from users in the country on Chinese soil.
Recently, Russia blocked Fines Google and Facebook for not removing content that violates VPNs and country laws ahead of parliamentary elections – and specifically demanded Google and Apple remove the ‘smart voting’ app.
After the app was taken down, critics fired back, with Navalny’s team executive director Ivan Zhdanov tweeting that the move was a “joke of common sense”:
Formal grounds for removal of applications: recognition of FBK as an extremist organization. The way the FBK was recognized as an extremist organization was not a test, but a mockery of common sense. @google @Apple is making a huge mistake. pic.twitter.com/3AG4tHXdZpSeptember 17, 2021
He also embedded a purported screenshot of Apple’s notification that the ‘Smart Voting’ app had been removed, explaining that “because it contains content that is illegal in Russia, in compliance with App Store review guidelines.” Not there.”
- See everything we know about the iPhone 13