On Sept. 17 Apple and Google disabled Russian users’ access to the pro-opposition ‘Smart Voting’ app in their online stores. Just hours later Telegram, the international instant messenger whose creator Pavel Durov touts its full independence, dealt a new blow to ‘Smart Voting’ by suspending — in a selective and controversial way — bots associated with campaigning,
‘Smart Voting’ is an online voting recommendation system designed by the team of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny. It aims to drive voters to candidates who best challenge the ruling party United Russia.
The authorities, which outlawed Navalny’s organization in June, claim the ‘Smart Voting’ app and site is illegal. They have staged a merciless war against online dissent in the run-up to the September 17-19 parliamentary election.
Here is a selection of news stories and analysis around these events, which illustrate the limits of tech companies’ power to resist crackdowns on dissent in Russia and elsewhere:
- Euronews: What is the Smart Voting app (Sept. 18)
- New York Times: How Russian authorities threatened to prosecute local employees to force Apple and Google to remove Navalny’s voting app (Sept. 17)
- East-West Digital News: One month of pressure on Apple, Google and Yandex in the battle against online dissent (Sept. 13)
- East-West Digital News: Court marshals visit Google’s Moscow office to enforce censorship decision (Sept. 15)
- Meduza: Why Apple and Google agreed to take down Navalny’s app, and what it means for the Russian Internet — An interview with Roskmosvoboda expert Sarkis Darbinyan (Sept. 17)
- AFP: Navalny accuses Google, Apple of becoming Putin’s “accomplices” (Sept. 23)
- AFP: Telegram blocks Navalny bot during Russian election (Sept. 18)
- Meduza: What’s wrong with Telegram’s explanation for disabling access to campaigning bots (Sept. 18)
- RFE/RL: Hacking servers, online blocking, police raids, information attacks: The Kremlin’s campaign to stop ‘Smart Voting’ (Sept. 5)
More dWeb.News Technology News at https://dweb.news/category/technology-news/
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