back to article Putin to staffers: Throw out your iPhones, or 'give it to the kids'

Advisors and staff to Russia's maximum leader have been told to ditch their iPhones by the end of the month. Or, for those who don't want to throw their Apple devices in the bin, the other option is to "give it to the kids," according to a local Kommersant report. It's part of a larger effort to "abandon American technology," …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPotato 7 now out

    You can hold it, throw it, smell it and maybe eat it when heating go off again.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Joke

      Disappointed in the Reg.

      'Putin on the Fritz' would have been a great secondary title.

      'Putin it around a bit.' would be a close second.

      Just sayin...

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    That'll help

    iPhone - Known to spy for Apple.

    Android phone - Known to spy for Google.

    Samsung phone - Theater of security always defeated by sloppy quality and shovelware.

    Chinese phone - Some spy for China, some don't. Usually contains an unpatched exploit to be used anonymously by anyone.

    A phone claiming it's insecure because the bootloader is unlocked for LineageOS - Probably the most secure phone if nobody has touched it.

    I wouldn't touch a Russian phone. Nope. Nope. Maybe it contains poison darts.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: That'll help

      All Chinese phones spy for the CCP, its the law.

      Its why they loved Covid so they could lock everyone into having to use the app to take a train, go in a shop etc.

      Xi is loving the thought they'd use Chinese phones. He'll probably provide them for free. So then China has full access inside the Russian government.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: That'll help

        All Chinese phones spy for the CCP, its the law.

        I'm interested to know more about this. Sources please?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That'll help

          Seriously?

          https://digichina.stanford.edu/work/translation-cybersecurity-law-of-the-peoples-republic-of-china-effective-june-1-2017/

          1. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: That'll help

            Where do you see in that text that "All Chinese phones spy for the CCP"?

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: That'll help

          I'm interested to know more about this. Sources please?

          Here's one that was prepared earlier-

          https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31996G1104:EN:HTML

          Council Resolution of 17 January 1995 on the lawful interception of telecommunications

          ... Whereas in accordance with a decision by the Trevi Ministers in December 1991 a study should be made of the effects of legal, technical and market developments within the telecommunications sector on the different interception possibilities and of what action should be taken to counter the problems that have become apparent,

          HAS ADOPTED THIS RESOLUTION:

          1. The Council notes that the requirements of Member States to enable them to conduct the lawful interception of telecommunications, annexed to this Resolution ('the Requirements`), constitute an important summary of the needs of the competent authorities for the technical implementation of legally authorized interception in modern telecommunications systems.

          2. The Council considers that the aforementioned Requirements should be taken into account in the definition and implementation of measures which may affect the legally authorized interception of telecommunications and requests Member States to call upon the Ministers responsible for telecommunications to support this view and to cooperate with the Ministers responsible for Justice and Home Affairs with the aim of implementing the Requirements in relation to network operators and service providers.

          And then became enshrined in national laws of the EU's member states.. Where most already had similar legislation already on their books in the form of national communications acts. Then the EU followed up with their 'We remember you wholesale' Directive, aka Data Retention. And coming soon, the glue layer-

          https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/european-digital-identity_en

          Every time an App or website asks us to create a new digital identity or to easily log on via a big platform, we have no idea what happens to our data in reality. That is why the Commission will propose a secure European e-identity. One that we trust and that any citizen can use anywhere in Europe to do anything from paying your taxes to renting a bicycle. A technology where we can control ourselves what data is used and how.

          Which has the typical political weasel words. When she says 'we', she doesn't mean you or I. It means they will know you or I have rented a bicycle, and can potentially disallow that transaction. And where it says 'can use', that's just the creeping compulsion we saw with the UK's ID Card Act. Currently we can do all these things already, it's just they have no knowledge or control over it, so eventually it'll become 'must use'.

          And of course current proposals suggest that your EuroID and wallet(?!?) will be on your 'smart' phone. Because everyone carries those all the time, right? And they're totally secure.. And it'll never be used to nudge European's Ids into compliance, or submission. You mustn't do that. You can't do that. Now, you really can't do that..

          And people think China's bad?

          1. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: That'll help

            https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31996G1104:EN:HTML

            Frankly, I'm not shocked. The key words here are "lawful" and "legally". Communication snooping can be justified sometimes. The limits must be set up by the law, and controlled by an independent body of the one making or asking for the snooping.

            And people think China's bad?

            Ever heard about Echelon?

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: That'll help

              Frankly, I'm not shocked. The key words here are "lawful" and "legally".

              That's currently a bit of a grey area whilst the limits of 'lawful' and 'legally' get tested in the courts. But you probably should be shocked at the powers 'freedom and democracy' loving nations are giving themselves. Or private enterprises are just taking, ie all the data slurping that doesn't have the protections in lawful intercept legislations. Users just grant the same (or greater) powers to data slurpers when the click on the 'OK!' buttons.

              But it's a very slippery slope. Ursula von der Liar previously wanted to use the vaccine 'passport' to restrict services to the unvaccinated. Converting that into a EuroID makes that a lot simpler. Quick ID check, and service is denied. Dare to violate lockdown and a fine is automatically deducted from it's linked wallet. Obey, Citizen. People raised China as an example of an oppressive state, yet seem blissfully aware of our own states are doing.

              Ever heard about Echelon?

              Yep. Ever heard of 'Black Rooms'? See-

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_noir

              Lawful intercept is nothing new, and IMHO, is a neccessary function of a democracy. We fund various agencies to keep us safe and allow us to go about our business. There are people that mean us harm, or want to force us to change our way of life. I'm referring to criminals here, not politicians. So we've allowed lawful intercepts because it allows our law enforcement and security services to keep us safe. Problem is technology has made that harder, and also we've allowed a lot of scope-creep that can turn a public safety tool into a very powerful tool of oppression.

              This government might be benevolent, but what about the next one, or the one after?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That'll help

        "So then China has full access inside the Russian government."

        Russia thinks China is a friend when all China is doing is getting Russia hooked on them so they can raid their resources. I don't think Putin realises he's walking Russia into being China's slave.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That'll help

          > I don't think Putin realises he's walking Russia into being China's slave.

          If you look at the photos of him with Xi from the recent meetings, I think Putin knows very well that he has become Xi's bitch. He just can't do anything different because he needs the economic support of China to stay in power and thereby stay alive.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That'll help

      Say what you want about iPhones, but the matter of the fact is that Apple is the only OEM that takes security seriously and implements memory protection on the modem. All other OEMs don't, which is why Google panicked when it was determined that Pixels have a VoLTE-activated modem vulnerability.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That'll help

        Apple aren't banned in China or the USA, that tells you everything about their level cooperation with the spy agencies of China and the USA.

        However it probably also tells you that they only spy for the Chinese in China and the USA in the USA

  3. DS999 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Good thing then

    That Android isn't written by a US company! Yeah yeah they can get ones without any of the closed source Google stuff but I didn't see anything about that in their edict.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw out your iPhones

    Fast forward: Lavrov defects and opens a how-not-to-be-seen school of diplomacy in London

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Throw out your iPhones

      well, Zakharova signs up!

      twitter.com/Gerashchenko_en/status/1637765729893138434?cxt=HHwWhIC2uaHQwbotAAAA

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Throw out your iPhones

      Workers of the world, throw out your iPhones

      You have nothing to lose but your blockchains.

  5. mpi Silver badge

    > more secure IT that can't be hacked by Western cyber spies

    True. It's very difficult to hack a brick that barely functions as a phone, let alone a smartphone.

  6. Fred Daggy Silver badge
    Flame

    Russia is just demonstrating that it can (at least try) and be technology independent. That's just one of their current weaknesses.

    How about Europe push harder on renewables and get energy independence? You know, away from corrupt totalitarian regimes like the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the other, mostly Middle East, fiefdoms. This would save a lot of money and grant a lot of freedoms to act and say how they want.

    1. ScottishYorkshireMan

      but what about the shareholders?

      this would have a very bad effect on Tory fanatics. The only reason the UK Gov coughed up £400 for everyone was to protect the shareholders (and likely Tory fanatic donors) bank balances. It would also have an adverse effect on those potential directorships at the likes of BP, Shell et al who the Tory mobsters have striven to cement for themselves through all this shambles

      1. Fred Daggy Silver badge

        Re: but what about the shareholders?

        Europe (as a political entity, including the EEA and EU), not UK. The UK no longer has a seat at that particular tables.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: but what about the shareholders?

          >The UK no longer has a seat at that particular tables.

          But the UK has coal reserves. Once Keir gets in the first priority of Labour will be to work together with the NUM to reopen t'pits.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Suggesting that the Middle East puppet regimes are actually controlling Europe via oil is laughable when in fact it's the opposite - the West appoints said puppet regimes, and deposes them if they dare to stop towing the line and play stupid games.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Sounds partly logical from Russia. I wonder why it trusts China, because it's sure China spies on it

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Beggars can't be choosers!

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      I wonder why it trusts China, because it's sure China spies on it

      Anyone who thinks that Russia trusts China wants their head examined - Russia is buddying up to China at the moment in order to try to ease their logistics quagmire. Whether China will do so is questionable - they gain nothing that they don't already have and potentially lose a lot if their actions harden the West against Chinese trade.

      The US is already quite keen to move manufacturing to places like India (and away from China) and the last thing China needs is for that to continue and accellerate.

    3. Denarius Silver badge

      trust ? What makes you think it matters? Mutual interests of the current time only. China will be wanting back the territory it lost to the Czar a century or two back. Possibly more as Russian control of its far east lands is relatively recent.

  8. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Aurora OS is a derivative of Joll'a Sailfish OS

    Just so you know, Aurora OS is a licensed fork of Jolla's Sailfish OS.

    Nokiamob.net (2021-11-16): Aurora OS is based on Sailfish but owned by OMP

    NN

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Former British Prime Minister claimed he never owned a mobile phone until he left political office

    Which former British Prime Minister? Churchill?

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Former British PM claimed he never owned a mobile phone until he left political office

      The way the Tories burn through PMs it might be former PM Rishi Sunak before the next GE.

    2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Former British PM claimed he never owned a mobile phone until he left political office

      I'm not excusing the author, who should have named the PM in the article itself, but the answer was for all to see in the linked URL: https://www.theregister.com/2012/03/03/tony_blair_rsa/

  10. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    iPhone

    Isn't iPhone Chinese for all intents and purposes?

  11. Esoteric Eric

    Meanwhile in America

    The White House Press meeting has Celebrities on giving health advice whilst a black reporter from Cameroon is shouted down for being unprofessional for asking questions.

    Fuck me

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile in America

      "Fuck me"

      Thanks for the kind invitation but I hope you'll not think me impolite if I decline.

  12. Andy Baird

    I can think of another reason Putin wants his lackeys not to use iPhones: to make it easier to eavesdrop on them. While Apple's iOS security isn't perfect, it's arguably stronger than any of the alternatives, as witness the recent Android VoLTE kerfuffle. Ex-FSB wonk Putin would surely love to be able to know exactly what his underlings are talking about, lest any of them try to plot a coup against the increasingly unpopular autocrat. Forcing them to switch to less secure phones would make that a lot easier.

  13. Reginald O.
    Mushroom

    Unintended consequences...

    Seems Russia wants to "Make the USSR Great Again", MUGA. But, are they?

    One view is their hard turn towards isolationism is going more like the North Korea version, totally whacked. The Russians might make pariah statism work for them though, as long as the oligarchs stay very rich, the peasantry very stupid and carbon revenue continues to flow.

    Launching a world war doesn't come cheap though. And, is China really anyone's friend?

    As for iPhones, yes, like all of that genre they are likely corporate/government personal spyware and tracking devices. Mine keeps in constant contact with the mother ship all hours day and night and lately SIRI has been joining in family conversations quite regularly, even trying to help the TV out sometimes. It's getting difficult to shut her up. What's that about anyway? (we probably know but don't want to know)

    Frankly, good security would probably require the Russians and all of us to throw all of our electronics in the river, but first smashing them with a five pound sledge.

    I do have nostalgia lately for phone booths, Selectric typewriters, and one way transistor radios. They seem like ancient symbols of innovation, privacy and freedom anymore. Those were the days.

    1. DreamEater

      Re: Unintended consequences...

      "I do have nostalgia lately for phone booths, Selectric typewriters, and one way transistor radios. They seem like ancient symbols of innovation, privacy and freedom anymore. Those were the days."

      Even the older stuff isn't as secure as you might think...

      https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/10/how-soviets-used-ibm-selectric-keyloggers-to-spy-on-us-diplomats/

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