Russia has reportedly passed a law banning the sale of phones, computers and smart TVs without Russian software preinstalled. It’ll come into force in July 2020. Legislation was apparently passed by the country’s lower house of parliament, but the list of impacted devices and software has yet to be determined. It won’t mean devices from outside Russia will have their usual preinstalled software banned, but the Russian software will have to be preinstalled as well. Supporters said the legislation is focused on promoting the country’s tech.
Critics suggested that the Russian software could be used as a method of surveillance and that the requirements might drive companies out of Russia. Western tech companies have been subject to Russian pressure in recent months for instance, the government asked Google not to promote illegal mass events on YouTube after protesters demanded free elections on Moscow’s streets in August. Apple, meanwhile, has been hit with antitrust allegations. The Kremlin’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.