Russia’s telecoms minister Nikolai Nikiforov told news agencies yesterday that government officials for the country recently traded in their iPads for Samsung tablets. Reporters spotted the new devices at a cabinet meeting, and the minister explained that the changeover was due to security concerns.
“Some of the information at government meetings is confidential in nature,” he said, “and these devices fully meet these demands and have gone through the strictest system of certification.” And the timing of the switch is certainly interesting, considering what’s going on at the Russia/Ukraine border…
But Nikiforov denies that the move has anything to do with Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. He did, however, express concern that the Crimea situation would cause US law enforcement agencies to increase the volume of data they intercept from Russians.
BusinessInsider has more:
“We are not proposing any sanctions,” he said. But he did mention reading reports that “American special services… will significantly increase the volume of information they intercept (which) of course causes serious concern to many governmental clients.”
“This obviously orientates Russian clients, primarily state ones, to be very choosy about their partners in IT,” Nikiforov said. He added that South Korean firms such as Samsung, along with Chinese ones, could be interesting to Russia in this respect.”
While Apple has been making inroads with government agencies in recent months, Nikiforov’s concerns aren’t unwarranted. The company has been linked to the NSA’s PRISM program, as well as another NSA program called ‘DROPOUTJEEP,’ and a major SSL bug was discovered in iOS earlier this year.
The site also shares an anecdote involving Russia’s then-president and now Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Steve Jobs. Apparently the country has a history with the iPad-maker, as Jobs gave Medvedev an iPhone as a gift during his 2010 visit to Silicon Valley. He actually used it to send his first tweet.