As per a report published today, Russia is going to ban the Apple iPhone and iPad from January 1st, 2015. The reason for this move might not be what you think. It has nothing to do with a business group dismantling a memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg. Its not Russia’s reaction against the sanctions that have been imposed on it. The reason behind this is iCloud, which has many Russian authorities concerned.
This is actually due to a law that Russia passed recently which dictates that online services operating within the country keep their data inside Russia. Apple iCloud servers are located in the U.S. and thus the any and all iOS devices with iCloud will be banned when the law goes into effect on January 1st, 2015.
The ban is not specific to Apple. It applies to any and all online services that operate inside the country. Social networks are not exempt as well so Twitter and Facebook may even meet the same fate.
There’s a simple way to get around this ban. The companies in question can set up servers in Russia and store data of the country’s users within their country. But it goes without saying that this will set a very bad precedent and companies wouldn’t want to indulge in such selective behaviour.
Those who already have iOS devices that support iCloud might be subjected to an ISP-level ban which would forbid access from the device to iCloud servers. Apple hasn’t said if its going to try and negotiate a way out, or if its considering setting up a server farm in Russia after all.