Apple Compiles With Moscow Demands Over Crimea

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Apple has altered Apple Maps for Russian people to show Crimea as Russian, despite illegal invasion

Apple has remained silent after it emerged it has complied with Russian demands to show Crimea as part of Russian territory on its apps.

For people in Russia using Apple Maps or Apple Weather, Crimea now appears as a Russian territory, despite the fact that Russian illegally invaded and annexed the region from Ukraine in 2014.

Russia was widely condemned around the world for its invasion, and is still under economic sanctions for its violent military action, which also resulted in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Russian internet © Pavel Ignatov Shutterstock 2012

Crimea change

In June this year three Russians (identified as GRU operatives) and a Ukrainian were charged with murdering 298 passengers and crew onboard MH17.

For people outside Russia, Crimea is not shown to be part of any country.

Apple so far has remained silent on the matter, the BBC reported.

“Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory,” the State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, was reported as saying in a statement.

Russia apparently treats the naval port city of Sevastopol as a separate region.

Apple had reportedly been in talks with Russia for several months over what the State Duma described as “inaccuracy” in the way Crimea was labelled.

It is understood that Apple originally suggested it could show Crimea as undefined territory – part of neither Russia nor Ukraine.

But Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of the Duma security and anti-corruption committee, was quoted by the BBC as saying that Apple had complied with the Russian Constitution.

He said Russia was open to “dialogue and constructive co-operation with foreign companies.”

It should be noted that Google Maps, arguably the more popular mapping app, does not show Crimea as belonging to either Russia or Ukraine on its maps.

That said, it does however, it uses the Russian spelling of Crimean place names on its maps in Russia, rather than the Ukrainian spelling.

Chinese demand

This is not the first time that Apple has compiled with controversial demands from a non-Western nation.

In 2014 Apple began storing personal data belonging to Chinese users in data centres located in China, despite censorship and privacy concerns.

The Cupertino-based company said at the time that it had partnered up with China Telecom Corp to use its data centres in the belief that it would result in a faster service for Chinese iCloud users.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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