Apple reports on storing user data in Russia

The world's leading technology company, Apple, reported it's storing data about its Russian users on local servers. A range of data includes user name, delivery address, email address and phone number as well as some detailed information about the company's local employees. In 2014, Apple spoke out against data localisation laws saying they wouldn't help ''prevent espionage or ensure data privacy and security''.

Apple Inc. detailed the user data it's storing in Russia to comply with local law, says Bloomberg. The company announced its intention to cooperate with IXcellerate data centre, which runs a server warehouse in Russia, in 2015. Earlier, Apple pushed back against Russia's data localisation law. In 2014, the company claimed that the corresponding legislation ''whether intended to prevent espionage or ensure data privacy and security, will not advance, and in many cases will hinder, the achievement of those objectives''.

According to information posted on Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor's website, Apple stores its local users' data including name, delivery address, email address and phone number on servers in Russia. This information is used for customer service and to inform users about new products, the company commented. Besides, Apple stores locally more information about its Russian employees, such as workers' Russian passport numbers along with place and time of issuance, permanent and temporary addresses, history of work evaluations and information about income.

However, the user data stored in Russia are more limited compared to those the company stores in China. Last year, Apple was even criticised for storing iCloud accounts of Chinese users locally to comply with China's legislation. The company's CEO Tim Cook explained that the company must comply with these types of national laws but pointed out that the data was encrypted. ''We have servers located in many different countries in the world,'' he said in an interview in October. ''The key question is how does the encryption process work and who owns the keys if anyone? In most cases for us, you and the receiver own the keys.''

First official Apple Centre shop in Moscow, Russia, November 2005. Photo: ssr

Russia is rather persistent in implementing its data localisation policy. In 2017, Roskomnadzor threatened to block Facebook if it didn't comply with the law. A year before, the regulator obliged domestic telecom providers to block access to LinkedIn business-oriented social network due to non-compliance with the law.

When the Russian government tried to block Telegram messaging service last year, it asked Apple to pull the app from its App Store. Although the company did not remove the app, it stopped publishing updates of the messenger for about two months, Telegram's founder claimed.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple became the third-largest smartphone maker in Russia in the second quarter of 2018 after Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co.

By Anna Litvina