Kremlin officials told to get rid of their iPhones, or give them to "the kids"


Posts: 8,801   +110
Staff member
What just happened? The Kremlin has told staff involved in President Vladimir Putin's 2024 re-election campaign to get rid of their iPhones before the end of this month over fears that western intelligence agencies could be using them for surveillance purposes. Those who would rather not throw their expensive handset away have been advised to "give it to the kids."

Russian publication Kommersant reports that employees of the Kremlin's internal political bloc - the Russian presidential administration's domestic policy, public projects, State Council, and IT departments - were informed that they must get rid of their iPhones before April. Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of Russia's presidential administration, made the announcement during a seminar held in early March in the Moscow region.

The Kremlin reportedly believes that iPhones are easier to hack and more susceptible to espionage by western spies than other smartphones. "iPhone is everything. Either throw it away or give it to the kids. Everyone will have to do this in March," said one source [Google translated].

The paper writes that the decision is part of a movement to abandon American technology in favor of more secure devices that can't be hacked by the west. The Kremlin may purchase new phones for its employees to make it easier for them to give up US tech, writes Kommersant.

The staff were told to replace Cupertino's devices with Android-based smartphones or those with operating systems developed in China. They may also use Aurora, the Linux-based smartphone OS developed by Russian company Open Mobile Platform, a subsidiary of PJSC Rostelecom.

Political scientist Nikolai Mironov told Kommersant that the iPhone ban was purely for security reasons. He said the request was a pragmatic solution and not related to politics.

Reuters writes that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not confirm the report. "Smartphones should not be used for official business," Peskov told reporters. "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."

Kommersant notes that Russia wants to build a domestic mobile ecosystem built on "technologies independent of Western IT giants." It cites Aurora as an example of this policy.

Russian officials were previously told to use domestic messaging platforms exclusively. They were also advised to use the Russian-made Trueconf instead of Zoom for video conferencing.

Vladimir Putin reportedly refuses to use smartphones, though Peskov says the Russian president does use the internet on occasion.

Center image: IAEA Imagebank

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Posts: 4,153   +7,456
The chinese have no issue managing apple data, but russia cant figure it out?

I thought iphones were super secure, no? Did the kremlin forget how to use wireshark?

Lets be honest, the west doesnt need iphones to track this guy. We have satellites that can record license plates from orbit. Privacy is just a suggestion these days.


Posts: 1,631   +3,052
Well I'm sure China isn't going to hack Chinese phones or email used by Russian government officials and they can just use Russian designed and built phones....right?

LOL on both counts


Posts: 149   +220


No more love for dmitry


Posts: 151   +322
Well, any Country has their right to ban anything that they don't trust just like the USA.
During this situation, of course Russian def won't trust US. Don't see anything wrong with it.

Guillermo Belli

Posts: 72   +99
Well, Apple scans iPhones and iCloud photos for "child abuse images", yo know, for everyone's safety :)

I'm pretty sure they do way more that that, but everyone can choose their poison. Google and Android are no better. All modern platforms are made to spy on the users and gather as much info as possible.


Posts: 258   +193
Always easier to tap and spy on employee phones if the OS is developed by Russian developers rather than Apple. And security wise, that too.


Posts: 1,357   +1,314
Doesn't trust iPhone but Android is ok? Does he realise that the UK designed most of the Arm cores for all SoC's and has a back door handle into most smartphones on the planet.


Posts: 422   +689
Apple, like most of Western high tech industry, has been drafted into the war against Russia. That was made clear when they pulled out of Russia.

When you're at war, you don't mess around. It's reasonable to conclude that Biden has authorized wide scale tapping of Russian iPhones. Heck, the US spent over 100 billion to support Ukraine, do you think they're going to honor Russian cellphone privacy?

However, Apple's pullout can be seen as a mistake. It allows the Russian government to openly ban iPhones. The Russian people won't complain. Apple loses a huge market, and the US loses probably the single most important source of information about Russia.

Also, the next generations of Russian and Chinese cellphone security will probably be much harder to crack.


Posts: 765   +509
Well, Apple scans iPhones and iCloud photos for "child abuse images", yo know, for everyone's safety :)

Yeah, just like CIA and KGB listened to the phones of various people, to detect exchange of child abuse pictures. It's a pity that child porn is still being exchanged despite all those efforts. Which leads to a logical conclusion:

We need even more surveillance. What we have now is obviously totally insufficient.