Russian government to officials: Bin your iPhone or ‘give it to the kids’
Staff in the administration have until the end of March to replace the phones.
Staffers of the Russian presidential administration have until the end of March to replace their iPhones with smartphones of other brands considered less susceptible to hacking and espionage, Russian news outlet Kommersant reported Monday.
Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff of the presidential administration, told officials during a Kremlin-organized seminar in March to dispose of the American smartphone by April 1 due to security concerns. Officials of regional political blocs are expected to receive similar recommendations. The government is even considering purchasing new phones for employees, the report reads.
“It’s all over for the iPhone. Either throw it away or give it to the kids,” a person attending a March meeting on the topic reportedly said.
The condition applied to the four departments within the presidential administration, including domestic policy, public projects, State Council activities, and information and communication technologies and infrastructure. Staffers in the first three departments will be actively engaged in the 2024 Russian presidential election campaign, which has intensified since the start of this year.
The news comes as several European capitals have recently banned civil servants from using the Chinese-owned social media app, Tik Tok, on their government-issued smartphones, with the United States considering a full ban of the app.