Due to government pressure, Apple and Google have deleted Alexei Navalny voting app from their respective app stores. Navalny is a detained Russian opposition leader who was imprisoned last year. Following threats to criminally prosecute business personnel in Russia, according to a storey in the New York Times, the company was forced to remove its staff.
Apple and Google, according to a spokeswoman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, acted “in line with the law” in removing the app from the market. According to Ivan Zhdanov, a Navalny supporter, the suppression of the article was “a disgusting act of political censorship.”
Navalny Voting App Agenda
Navalny’s app, which was designed to mobilise votes against Putin’s party in Russia’s legislative election, has been the target of a prolonged government campaign against it. Following a warning to punish Apple and Google deletes Navalny app earlier this month, the country’s internet censorship authority asserted that maintaining the app on the store constituted electoral meddling. When updates to the app were halted by Apple, neither business deleted the app at the time.
Several websites associated with Navalny have been banned by Russian censors, and the pressure being applied to Apple and Google is part of a broader assault on international technology companies. Twitter was throttled in Russia for allegedly failing to delete illegal information, and a court punished Twitter and Facebook (as well as messaging service Telegram) earlier this week for allegedly failing to remove unlawful content.
Earlier this year, a judge punished the video-sharing app TikTok for similar violations. Messages seeking response from both Apple and Google were not immediately returned.
This month, the news agency Reuters reported that Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, had warned Apple and Google with penalties if they did not delete the Smart Voting app from their respective platforms – warning that failure to comply might be seen as election tampering.
Russian Press Statement aft Removal of Navalny App
According to reports in the Russian press, Apple and Google were summoned to a meeting at the Federation Council on the day of the election, as Putin’s government attempted to coerce them into complying with his anti-democratic agenda.
According to a report by Kommersant, the internet giants were informed that the Russian Federation was prepared to tighten rules on their companies — and were urged to “come to their senses,” after which they were given another warning that they had crossed a “red line”.
Earlier this year, Putin’s administration also attacked Twitter, slowing the site because it failed to delete information it wanted prohibited, despite the fact that Roskomnadzor stated the action was linked to non-political content such as children attempting suicide, child sexual exploitation, and drug usage.