Sometimes you read something and then have to make sure that it’s not April 1st, but alas, today is not April Fools Day and unfortunately, this report from Reuters appears to be far from a joke. If it is indeed accurate, the Russian government has apparently asked Apple to hand over the source code for both iOS and the OS X in a bid to try and make sure that neither can be used to spy on it.
The Reuters report claims that Apple sent someone to speak with Russia’s Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov amongst others recently, with the iPad, iPhone and Mac apparently in the country’s bad books because it does not know whether the devices are spying on it or not. Furthermore, software maker SAP is also on Russia’s radar for the very same reason.
The request came when Nikiforov met Apple’s general manager in Russia, Peter Engrob Nielsen, last week.
Just when it seemed that this story couldn’t get any more strange, Russia claims to have a long-standing relationship with Microsoft for the express purpose of perusing its source code to "ensure the rights of consumers and corporate users to the privacy of their personal data, as well as for state security interests.” At least the Russian government can’t be accused of taking sides in the Apple-Microsoft war, then. It’s unclear whether a similar agreement is in place with other tech companies, however. We’re looking at you, Android.
Unsurprisingly, neither Apple nor SAP have commented on the situation regarding the Russian government, and in all honesty, we don’t expect that to change in Apple’s case at least.
We’re not really sure what surprised us most about this story, in all honesty. Is it the fact that Apple had this request made of it at all, or the fact that Microsoft already complies with a similar request that strikes you as the most odd?
We just can’t make up our minds.