Apple removes VPN apps in response to Russian government requests

Apple has recently complied with demands from Russian authorities to remove several VPN apps from its App Store in Russia, according to reports from the app makers themselves.

According to a report from Russian news agency Interfax, Apple removed 25 VPN apps from its App Store in Russia last week. This action followed a directive from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications watchdog, which regulates internet content and accessibility. VPN services, which are essential tools for many Russians to bypass government-imposed internet restrictions, have now become the target of intensified regulatory measures.

On Monday, two prominent VPN services, Le VPN and Red Shield VPN, reported receiving formal notifications from Apple about the app removals. TechCrunch was informed by these VPN providers that Apple cited non-compliance with Russian laws as the reason for the removal. A letter sent to Red Shield VPN, shared by CEO and founder Vladislav Zdolnikov, stated, “We are writing to notify you that your application, per demand from Roskomnadzor, will be removed from the Russia App Store because it includes content that is illegal in Russia, which is not in compliance with the App Review Guidelines.”

Apple’s compliance with Roskomnadzor’s demands underscores the complex relationship between global tech companies and local regulatory environments. While tech giants like Apple operate on an international scale, they must navigate the legal and political landscapes of each country they serve. In this instance, Apple’s adherence to Russian laws has resulted in the removal of apps that are deemed essential by many users for maintaining internet freedom and bypassing censorship.

Written by Maya Robertson


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