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Russia bans sale of Devices that came without pre-installed Russian Software

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Russia has put a ban on the sale of devices that do not have Russian indigenous software. That being said, certain gadgets that include smartphones, smart televisions and computers would have to comprise pre-installed software made in Russia to be eligible for being marketed.

However, that does not mean that devices built-in foreign land would not be allowed at all. This only means that even for those gadgets that are sourced from other countries would need to have some additional alternative software manufactured in Russia that works as an alternative to the existing ones.

The law would come to force by July of the next year. As reported by Interfax news agency, Oleg Nikolayev, a co-author of the bill, stated: “When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them. Naturally, when a person sees them… they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if, alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose.”


Once this new legislation comes to place, Russia would be able to have a more tightened grip on the sale and purchase of IT equipment and software in particular. As a first, the bill has been inviting a lot of criticism from its opponents lately.

Those who speak for the law, hold it as a powerful tool which will enable the legislators towards promoting Russian technology. Moreover, they say that it would be easier for the people of Russia to use the gadgets they would purchase, from then on.

Alexander Yushchenko, the Communist party representative, said: “Of course, many people can install whatever they want on their smartphones or computers themselves, but more senior individuals may encounter problems, and they need help.”

This turns the wind in favour of the elderly primarily, who find it difficult to work with the foreign software. The proponents of this change say that the ecosystem of the device would become friendlier for users of all age. But, such a move easily angers major proponents of the International market.

Major global companies like Apple might even leave the Russian markets, according to speculations. Once a third party application, here the Russian software is installed alongside existing foreign software of any global brand, the insides would not be the same. Apart from posing security threats, it would act as if jailbreaking has been done into a device’s ecosystem.

Apple has always maintained that it would not tolerate a breach in the set-up security of its device. Moreover, RATEC, an association of trading companies, quoted that some devices would find it impossible to have Russian software installed alongside the original ones. This sounds of a yet another red flag in the global markets.

Earlier this month, the ‘Sovereign Internet’ law came into place in Russia, and it heightened the internet restrictions there. In the last few years, the restrictions have increased in one way or the other. Apart from the displeasure of manufacturers and distributors, critics oppose the current legislation as an attempt at spying over users.

In an attempt to tighten the grip over the web, as the opposition would prefer to say, the Kremlin exercise web restrictions in the name of sovereignty in the digital sphere. Protests that are carried out are often greeted with internet cut off and also mass web surveillance by the intelligence department.

Russian authorities already wield enormous power and control over the internet. Major television channels are controlled directly or indirectly by the authorities. The ‘Fake News’ March 2019 legislation even allows them to block websites while imposing fines too. Critics have been rather vocal about it, calling it a form of censorship.

While the Russian government has always been defensive about the internet laws, claiming not even a single example could be picked to support their (opposition’s) claims. As for the recent Russian software legislation, only time can tell what it holds for the Russian buyers when the bill comes to action in July 2020.

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