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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Russia Directs Apple to Remove VPN Apps

Russia Directs Apple to Remove VPN Apps
Husain Parvez Published on 11th July 2024 Cybersecurity Researcher

Apple has removed 25 VPN apps from its app store in Russia following a request from Roskomnadzor, the country's internet regulator. The affected apps include popular services such as NordVPN, Proton VPN, Red Shield VPN, and Planet VPN.

This action comes as part of a broader effort by the Russian government to control internet access and censor online content. VPNs are commonly used by Russians to circumvent government censorship and access restricted content.

Roskomnadzor cited noncompliance with local legal requirements as the reason for the removal, according to reports from Interfax and other Russian news agencies.

Red Shield VPN condemned Apple's decision, stating, "Apple's action is not just fantastic hypocrisy and cowardice, but a real crime against freedom of information and civil society." LeVPN also criticized the move, noting that it marks a significant step in Roskomnadzor's ongoing efforts to control internet access within Russia. The VPN providers revealed that they received letters from Apple notifying them of the removal, with Apple citing the apps' inclusion of content considered illegal in Russia.

The Record reported that VPN services like LeVPN and Red Shield VPN are offering ways to bypass these new restrictions so that Russian users can continue to use their services. LeVPN also mentioned that they are collaborating with human rights activists and other VPN providers to assess the situation more broadly. "This recent development underscores a significant escalation in Roskomnadzor’s capabilities, demonstrating its increasing influence over major technology companies like Apple," stated a LeVPN spokesperson.

TechCrunch added that this removal is part of an ongoing crackdown by the Russian government, which has previously banned VPN advertising ahead of elections.

This is not the first instance of such censorship by the Russian government. Since the start of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict in February 2022, the Kremlin has intensified efforts to block access to numerous media outlets and social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and X.

About the Author

Husain Parvez is a Cybersecurity Researcher and News Writer at vpnMentor, focusing on VPN reviews, detailed how-to guides, and hands-on tutorials. Husain is also a part of the vpnMentor Cybersecurity News bulletin and loves covering the latest events in cyberspace and data privacy.