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Russian Ministry bans iPhones and iPads for work over fear of espionage

The accusations, however, were refuted by Apple saying that it does not work with any government to make backdoors into any of the Apple products.

The Russian Ministry of Digital Development has prohibited employees from using Apple iPhones and iPads for professional use, according to an Interfax report, quoting the minister, Maksut Shadaev.

Minister Shadaev reportedly said that the ban will be enforced on usage of Apple devices for accessing work applications and email exchanges, however, the employees will be allowed to use Apple iPhones and iPads for personal use.

“A ban is imposed on using Apple mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to access work applications and work email exchange,” he stated at a digital conference, according to the agency.

“It is allowed to use iPhones for personal purposes,” Minister Shadaev stated.

The ban came two months after the Russian main Federal Security Service or the FSB, claimed that thousands of Apple devices had been infiltrated as a result of a US espionage operation. The accusations, however, were refuted by Apple saying that it does not work with any government to make backdoors into any of the Apple products.

The FSB asserted that several thousand iPhones, including those with Russian SIM cards and those registered to Moscow diplomatic missions in NATO nations, Israel, Syria, and China, were “infected” with monitoring software that suggested Apple’s “close cooperation” with the US National Security Agency.

In response to the alleged US espionage endeavour, the Russian Ministry of Trade told its workers not to use Apple iPhones for work reasons in July.  The trade ministry had stated then that the usage of iPhones for “work purposes” will be prohibited. 

It was reported in March of this year that the Kremlin had instructed officials engaged in the preparations for Russia’s presidential election in 2024 to refrain from using iPhones. The officials were told to switch phones by April 1st. The Russian authorities, it was alleged, would offer alternative devices with various operating systems to replace the iPhones, and the order to stop using Apple phones was geared at people involved in internal politics.

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