Apple drinks Putin’s Kool-Vodka, shoves Russians' iCloud data into Russia – report

Cupertino caves to the motherland, it's claimed

Apple has agreed to store Russians' iCloud accounts in a data center in Russia, it is reported.

The Cupertino giant was under pressure to comply with a law passed in December by the Vladimir Putin-led government that demanded Russian citizens' personal data be held within the nation's borders.

If the iPhone maker had refused to obey the rules, Russia's watchdogs may have ultimately banned and blocked the iCloud service in the country. iCloud is a key component of Apple's iOS and OS X gear. The new law kicked in on September 1.

Thus, Apple agreed to bung iCloud backups and other account information into a server warehouse within Russia that's operated by IXcellerate, Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Thursday. We're told Apple put out a tender in July for someone to supply enough rack space for 700 servers.

"Hypothetically, if Apple's services were blocked in Russia, it would have caused great dissatisfaction and social tensions among the Russian-speaking users ... from students to politicians, from businessmen to scientists," Sergey Plugotarenko, a director at the Russian Association for Electronic Communications, told Kommersant.

Chess champion turned human rights activist Garry Kasparov, who is a critic of Putin, said the move will be a gift for the KGB. "Apple caves in to Kremlin pressure to store all Russian user data [in Russia] – bigger news than a bigger iPad," he added on Twitter, referring to the Wednesday's iPad Pro launch.

Facebook is said to be reluctant to put its Russian users' information within the grasp of the Kremlin, while other tech goliaths have said they'll eventually get round to complying with the law. Booking.com, which is owned and run by Priceline in Connecticut, is a neighbor of Apple in IXcellerate's server farm, we're told.

Some 2.6 million businesses fall under the data location rules, according to the communications regulator Roskomnadzor – and it plans to start checking hundreds of websites for compliance this year.

Russia has an itchy trigger finger when it comes to striking stuff off the internet: it's thrown PornHub out of its networks, as well as Archive.org and briefly Wikipedia.

Apple does not respond to The Register's requests for comment. ®

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