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April 14, 2017

Russia blocks protest app for refusing to share data

by John_A

Back in 2013 when messaging apps seemed to be cropping up every day, Zello’s walkie-talkie audio dispatches seemed a novel addition to a crowded niche. We didn’t anticipate that the app would become a hit with protesters in Ukraine, Turkey, Hong Kong, Venezuela, and elsewhere. But after the simultaneous demonstrations around Russia in the last couple weeks, it seems the government is hitting the perpetrators where they coordinate: Yesterday, they banned the use of Zello in the country.

Over 400,000 Russians were blocked from using the service, Zello’s CEO wrote in a blog post. The country’s laws require “information distribution brokers” like the app to store its data in Russia and make it available to the country’s government. Zello refused, and was completely banned.

For the record, it’s the same treatment LinkedIn received last November when it became the first major Western platform to run afoul of the new law, which had been passed earlier in 2016. When faced with the ultimatum to store the service’s data in-country, LinkedIn similarly refused to fork over user information. Russian agencies proceeded to purge the service completely from the country by forcing Google and Apple to remove the platform from their respective app stores. Assumedly, the same will happen with Zello.

Via: Defense One

Source: Zello Blog

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