Russia doesn't trust the United States government or Apple, so it is asking for source code from the Mac, iPhone and iPad maker to look for clues showing the devices are being used to spy on its citizens and government officials. The country also wants source code from SAP citing privacy concerns.
Russia wants Apple's source code
The source code request came ahead of new sanctions from the U.S. and European Union over Russia's military involvement in the Ukraine. The code request came from Russia's Communications Minister last week when he met with Peter Engrob Nielsen, Apple's general sales manager for Russia, and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP's managing director in the country, according to Reuters.
Both Apple and SAP are highly protective of their code and won't hand it over without a fight, especially to a government that could potentially lose control over it, or turn the code into its own spying system. Resisting the Russian government's request, however, could lead to sanctions blocking the companies from selling their products in the country.
While part of the Russia's actions may be in retaliation to the U.S. and E.U. sanctions, the government has also voiced concerns over agressive NSA spying following the leaked documents from Edward Snowden. Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov drove those concerns home saying,
Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 and U.S. intelligence services' public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware.
According to the Snowden documents, U.S. tech companies have been providing the government with back doors into their software for covert data collection on a massive scale. Many companies, including Apple, have openly denied participating in any government data collection programs, but that isn't enough to ease the minds of Russian officials.
Should Apple and SAP refuse to had over their software code, Russia has hinted that it might block the sale of their products in the country, but hasn't openly said that's what it intends to do.
Apple and SAP have not commented on Russia's request.