Kremlin says nyet to iPhone ahead of presidential election
The Russian government has told officials preparing for the country's 2024 presidential election not to use iPhones, because there is worry that spies have hacked the phones.
Russia is gearing up for another presidential election in 2024, but preparations for it have involved a message to tighten security, and that includes ditching the iPhone.
Sergei Kiriyenko, the first deputy head of the presidential administration, informed domestic political officials at a government seminar that they will need to switch to different phones by April 1, reported russian newspaper Kommersant according to Reuters.
"It's all over for the iPhone: either throw it away or give it to the children," one unnamed meeting participant allegedly said. "Everyone will have to do it in March."
A Kremlin spokesman claimed he couldn't confirm the report, but insisted that smartphones shouldn't be used for official business. "Any smartphone has a fairly transparent mechanism, no matter what operating system it has - Android or iOS. Naturally, they are not used for official purposes," said spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
To aid with the change, the government is expected to issue other smartphones. Also, while the order applies against officials working in domestic politics, it may not affect those working in other areas of government.
The accusation of spying by Western intelligence agencies isn't the first time that Apple has been roped into claims of interference in Russian political affairs.
In 2021, Russian watchdog group Roskomnadzor demanded that Apple and Google remove an app by opposition leader Alexi Navalny, under claims it was promoting an "extremist organization." Apple later restored the app.
In March 2022, it was alleged that Russian agents used old-school threats to demand the removal of a protest vote app, including visits to executive homes and a threat of prison.