Apple and Google accused of election meddling in Russia
Apple and Google’s refusal to remove Navalny’s app Smart Voting from their respective app stores will be treated as election meddling, Russian communications regulator stated. The app, which was created in 2019, promotes candidates considered most likely to defeat Kremlin-backed candidates.
According to Russian officials the app is deliberately and illegally ‘spreading election campaign materials that were not paid for from election funds which were particularly created abroad,’ and this is in violation of Russian law.
The app is also collecting user data, and there were instances of data leaks of Russian citizens who use the app. Already, data of 10,000 users was leaked in September.
An aggravating circumstance, Russian authorities explained, is that the app is used to continue the activities of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which is designated as a terrorist organisation in the Russian Federation. Therefore the app is used to continue the activities of a terrorist organisation, which is illegal in Russia under Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation entitled ‘Organization of the activities of an extremist organization’.