Apple and Google cave to Kremlin, disappear Smart Voting app

From the AP’s “Navalny app removed from online stores as Russian polls open” posted Friday:

An app created by allies of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny disappeared from Apple and Google stores on Friday as polls opened across Russia for three days of voting in a parliamentary election.

Russian authorities are seeking to suppress the use of Smart Voting, a project designed by Navalny to promote candidates that are most likely to defeat those backed by the Kremlin. This weekend’s election is widely seen as an important part of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cement his grip on power ahead of the 2024 presidential polls, in which control of parliament will be key.

Apple and Google have come under pressure in recent weeks, with Russian officials urging them to remove the app, which features Smart Voting, saying failure to do so will be interpreted as interference in the election and threatening them with fines…

Google was forced to remove the app because it faced legal demands by regulators and threats of criminal prosecution in Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who also said Russian police officers visited Google’s offices in Moscow on Monday to enforce a court order to block the app. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

My take: Apple is a company with principles. One of them, according to Tim Cook, is to obey the laws of the countries in which they do business. Even the totalitarian countries.

10 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    It isn’t just totalitarian governments that try to control “elections”. I heard that an incumbent in one of the oldest democracies recently tried to alter the people’s will. Fortunately it’s institutions, and the people’s trust in them, resisted the effort.

    12
    September 17, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      Yes, and how, Joseph and Gregg.

      5
      September 17, 2021
  2. Apple provides powerful guidance to other organizations through their corporate actions & choices but must remain in the role of a Non-Government Organization (NGO). The term is often used to describe aid organizations, especially when operating in countries that may not have strong or any democratic institutions. I kowtowed, to some extent, to the governments of Haiti and West Bengal when I lived there. West Bengal was Communist Marxist at the time, with all of the extremes such a moniker congers up. Haiti was as is today, except they grow more soybeans thanks to my uncle, Allen Medus, and I.
    Elections were held. Revolutions or revolts occurred. People were shot dead standing beside me, too many times. They deliberately did not aim at me. I still carried beans to mountain villages and planted them together, lest they eat them first. I still showed up to teach government employees WordPerfect, PageMaker and Lotus 123, several days a month. The new mother’s clinic stayed open.
    I was able to remain, restock various missions, even for other NGOs and deliver much needed farming, maternal health services, food, clean water and education IF I kept my mouth shut about politics and candidates. Had I spoken up I would have been deported or worse. I also lived to share my experiences and bring about change through more subtle channels. Activists, corporate or otherwise, must be pragmatic or they may lose any opportunity to bring about any change, anywhere.

    19
    September 17, 2021
    • Robert Stack said:
      @Thomas: My sister lives in Crofton and is a regular at one of the local farmers markets. Tho I’m not sure which one, so I plan to ask her. I do know she’s a regular buyer of honey and I really hope its from you! As Joseph said, thank you for your service to our country and the world writ large…

      4
      September 17, 2021

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