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    Apple removes VPN apps from Russian App Store at Russia’s request

    Apple removes VPN apps from Russian App Store at Russia’s request

    Apple has removed 25 VPN services from the App Store in Russia at the request of the Russian government, part of a growing crackdown on services which help people get around online restrictions.

    Communications regulator Roskomnadzor said Apple complied with orders to remove 25 apps, which Russian media said includes NordVPN, Proton VPN, Red Shield VPN, Le VPN, Planet VPN, Hidemy.name VPN and PIA VPN.

    The move is part of the Russian government’s crackdown on services which enable people to access censored news websites and apps such as Instagram and Facebook, both of which were banned after Meta was labeled an extremist organization.

    “We are deeply convinced that our application has the mission of providing free access to information and improving the world,” Red Shield VPN said in a statement. “Apple’s actions, motivated by a desire to retain revenue from the Russian market, actively support an authoritarian regime. This is not just reckless but a crime against civil society.”

    Red Shield VPN said the Russian government had been trying to block the app for a long time, with thousands of VPN nodes being blocked in recent years, though users were still able to use them. “Apple, however, has done this job much more effectively for them,” the company said.

    In July 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill which gave Roskomnadzor the power to block VPN services if they provide access to websites banned in Russia.

    An email from Apple sent to Red Shield VPN

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