from the old-man-rattles-saber-at-cloud dept
The Russian government's efforts to carve out its own internet continue. It's never been shy about its interest in accessing (and censoring) internet users' activity and data, what with its required registration for bloggers, demands for US-based companies to hand over user data and threats to block content stored on foreign servers -- and that's just since the beginning of this year.
A law outlawing the use of offshore servers to store Russian internet users' data and content goes into effect at the beginning of 2015. That means popular products like Apple's iPhone and iPad will all be technically violating Russian law with their automatic iCloud syncing.
This legislation can be partially blamed on the actions of Russia's most famous guest.
As the adoptive home of Edward Snowden, Russia is all too aware that many of its citizens' communications are stored on servers owned by the scary giants of Silicon Valley. Ultimately, the Kremlin is likely to be worried that cloud services offer the NSA a way to snoop on Russian citizens, state apparatchiks and perhaps even high ranking politicians.The Russian government isn't that concerned about its citizens being spied on by foreign agencies. It probably just hates the competition. But even acts of unbridled self-interest (state apparatchiks, high ranking politicians) occasionally result in net gains for the otherwise ignored public.
This ban will affect all US tech companies, but local coverage seems to imply that iPhone users will be the first to feel the results. The law effectively bans Apple's products unless it switches iCloud services off for Russian users or decides to rent some space on local servers.
This is more Russian government control wearing the outward trappings of NSA backlash. As The Register notes, earlier this year the Russian government demanded Apple and SAP turn over source code, presumably to check it over for surveillance backdoors.
Other countries have announced their intention to purchase network technology and services from non-US companies in the wake of Snowden's revelations, but much of the noise was there to deflect attention away from their own domestic surveillance programs. But in Russia's case, its surveillance/control desires lay much closer to the surface, if not out in the open completely. This law doesn't look much like NSA backlash. It looks like a convenient excuse for government expansion.