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Russia to Consider iPhone Ban for Officials

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Russian lawmakers will consider making officials get rid of foreign-made smartphones like the iPhone and instead use the Russian-made Yotaphone over concerns that communication gadgets made abroad may not be secure, the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia reported Monday.

MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russian lawmakers will consider making officials get rid of foreign-made smartphones like the iPhone and instead use the Russian-made Yotaphone over concerns that communication gadgets made abroad may not be secure, the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia reported Monday. 

Anxious over potential government security breaches from the use of smartphones, a Federation Council commission will analyze the vulnerability of some of today’s communication gadgets with a lean towards making officials get rid of mobiles manufactured abroad, Izvestia reported.

Lawmakers interviewed by Izvestia raised questions about the security of foreign-made telephones, implying they would more easily be hacked or spied on than a Russian-made device.

“There will always be distrust toward smartphone manufacturers. Whoever makes the technology can also eavesdrop on it,” State Duma Deputy Vadim Dengin told the newspaper. “I would easily give up [my] smartphone in favor of a domestic smartphone designed specifically for us and by us. In this regard, I have high hopes for Yotaphone.”

The twin-screened Yotaphone, which features a full-color LCD screen on one side and a black-and-white electronic paper display on the other, was launched last week by Russian modem developer Yota.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a well-known Apple fan, has already begun using the Yotaphone, the country’s first domestically-produced smartphone. He told reporters last week that he hoped it would be better protected from spying activities than the iPhone. 

Technology security has recently come to the forefront of global government attention amid media revelations that US security agencies monitored the telephone conversations of dozens of world leaders, leading to distrust on the part of some Russian officials of American technology. 

US President Barack Obama recently said he was not allowed to have an iPhone for security reasons.

Vitaly Milonov, a conservative Russian lawmaker, warned Russian officials in September against using Apple’s new iPhone 5s, saying the device’s fingerprint-recognition security measure could store the prints in US intelligence agency databases.

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YotaPhone, iPhone, Yota, Apple
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