A couple of days after Apple started pulling VPN apps from the App Store in China to comply with government restrictions on their use, Russian Federation looks to be next in line to clamp down on the use of virtual private networks ... Essentially, as a requirement for someone to operate a VPN they have to have a license from the government there.
We're now discovering that Russian Federation is cracking down on VPN's as well.
Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said that they would have preferred to not delete the apps, but just like what they do in other countries, they comply with the law wherever they do business. ExpressVPN, one of the popular apps that was delisted, said in a blog post that it was "disappointed" and "troubled" by the tech giant's decision. And it shows the most strict and sudden step the Chinese government has taken to halt the use of VPNs.
The Russian government's decision, like China's, isn't very shocking to Hagemann. "We believe in engaging with governments even when we disagree", Cook said in a telephone earnings call on Tuesday. Express VPN also posted a copy of the message it said it had received from Apple, noting that its app was removed because it included "content that is illegal in China".
Despite cries that Apple was working in conjunction with the Chinese government and not the US government, following last year's San Bernadino attacks, Cook said that's simply not the case.
But Cook defended the move, saying it was no different to Apple's compliance with local regulations in all its markets. We would obviously rather not remove the apps, but like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business.
"Banning the "unauthorized" use of basic Internet security tools makes Russian Federation both less safe and less free", Snowden, who continues to reside in Russian Federation, wrote on his Twitter feed.
AWS representatives in the US did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the emails sent by Beijing Sinnet.
The Chinese government is in indirect agreement with Russia's, after directing telecommunications companies earlier in July to obstruct users from accessing VPNs. Furthermore, the law will require search engines to remove references to blocked websites so citizens don't know what it is they are not allowed to see. Its stance is that rules governing cyberspace should mimic real-world border controls and that the internet should be subject to the same laws as sovereign states. The state doesn't really respect the idea of freedom on the internet, according to Freedom House, a nonprofit that researches human rights and ranks countries based on their appreciation of liberty.
Over the weekend, Apple removed several VPN apps from the Chinese App Store, causing significant amounts of blowback from privacy experts as well as VPN operators.