Smartphones and other electronics sold in Russia might come with pre-installed apps from country’s tech firms, according to a new bill.
The bill, still being discussed at the Russian Parliament, would ask smartphones, tablets, smart TV, and computer vendors to include a list of Russian software before selling it to the public.
What does Russia’s Pre-installed apps bill say?
If the bill is approved, the government will decide specific apps for each device type. Failing to comply with the bill would result in a fine up to 200,000 Rubles (roughly $3,100).
Equipment vendor that don’t run a complex OS or custom software will be exempted from the law, writes ZDNet. It is difficult to tell whether the Russia government will term Android as a “complex OS” or not.
The pre-installed Russian apps bill has already garnered one vote in the lower house of the Russian parliament. A few more votes and a green signal from Vladimir Putin, the bill will go into effect by as early as July 1, 2020.
Lawmakers and political parties have shown support for the bill. The general argument is “the bill will protect the interests of Russian Internet companies and will reduce the abuse by large foreign companies”
On the contrary, many believe that the law would boost the surveillance from the state on users. People fear that the Russian apps would work as a medium to send private information of users to the government.
Tension among smartphone users seems justified given the country just passed the Sovereign Internet Law that faced huge protests on the idea that the law will hinder user’s freedom of speech and expression on the Internet.