The vice speaker of the Russian Duma has proposed that the national legislature consider prohibiting the use of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system among Russian government workers, state-owned corporations and state-sponsored research institutions. The request comes amid heightened concerns over the new operating system throughout the world.
Nikolai Levichev, leader of the A Just Russia party, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other leaders, asserting that Windows 10's user agreement enables Microsoft to scan for passwords, contacts, location information and other types of sensitive data. Microsoft's latest software has drawn a number of privacy complaints, though the company replied to Levichev's accusations by saying transfer of personal information is possible only with a user's consent, Russia Today reported.
Levichev also sent a letter to the censorship agency Roskomnadzor and found support from a number of other politicians, who have called for a Russian-made operating system to be used instead.
The call for a ban is just the latest example of a minor Russian politician using his podium to blast U.S. technology companies since the Edward Snowden leaks began two years ago. [Snowden is the former National Security Agency contractor who has been living in exile in Russia since releasing classified information over the Internet in 2013.] By advocating similar bans against Applie iPhones, various Google services and the encryption software Tor, little-known Russian leaders are effectively leveraging anti-American sentiment to boost their own popularity.
“They're participating in a lottery,” Kevin Rothrock, a Russian Internet policy analyst, told International Business Times. “Lower-level politicians have this game where they just try to say these anti-American things and just hope they're saying the right thing. They tend to think fear tactics are more effective because people will watch what they say.”