MOSCOW (Reuters): Russia’s presidential administration has told officials to stop using Apple iPhones because of concerns the devices are vulnerable to Western intelligence agencies, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday.
At a Kremlin-organized seminar for officials involved in domestic politics, Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the presidential administration, told officials to change their phones by April 1, Kommersant said, citing unidentified sources.
“It’s all over for the iPhone: either throw it away or give it to the children,” Kommersant quoted one of the participants of the meeting as saying. “Everyone will have to do it in March.”
The Kremlin may provide other devices with different operating systems to replace the iPhones, Kommersant said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not confirm the report, but that smartphones could not be used for official purposes anyway.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
President Vladimir Putin has always said he has no smartphone, though Peskov has said Putin does use the Internet from time to time.
Shortly after Russia sent its troops into Ukraine last year, US and British spies claimed a scoop by uncovering — and going public with — intelligence that Putin was planning to invade. It is unclear how the spies obtained such intelligence.