Apple iPad Dumped By Russia – Next Step In Sanctions Or U.S. Paranoia?

When the U.S. slapped sanctions on some Russian individuals because of the Ukraine crisis, Russia warned there would be consequences. But do those consequences involve shunning Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)? Russian officials say this isn’t part of their sanctions on the U.S., but not everyone is convinced.

Russia asked about missing Apple iPads

According to The Guardian, a number of journalists noticed that Russian lawmakers at a cabinet meeting has swapped their Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads for tablets made by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930). Minister Nikolai Nikiforov told them that they recently made the switch and that it was because of concerns about security.

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He also stated that the new tablets from Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) were “specially protected devices that can be used to work with confidential information.” In addition, he said they “are not proposing any sanctions.”

Is Russia paranoid?

On the other hand, one thing that hasn’t been considered is whether Russia is simply paranoid about listening ears in the U.S. After all, the nation did grant asylum to Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the U.S. National Security Agency’s digital spying programs. So clearly the U.S. can and does keep an eye on people—even those it considers to be friends, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And Russia may see utilizing tablets made by a U.S. company as an open invitation for the U.S. to spy on them.

Since the crisis in Ukraine began, Russia has become even less of a friend to the U.S., which is why some have suggested that dumping Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPad may be part of Moscow’s sanctions. But it isn’t unheard of for countries to be paranoid about electronics made in companies they’re leery about. After all, U.S. officials have demonstrated this sort of paranoia regarding the possibility of Chinese companies placing spying equipment inside our wireless networks. Before they would approve the deal between Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) and Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) (OTCMKTS:SFTBF), they made the companies promise not to use equipment made by Chinese manufacturers.

Apple may not be secure enough

But then again, there may really be no ulterior motive here, other than just basic worries about security, just as Russian officials said. After all, even U.S. President Barack Obama isn’t allowed to use Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products because of security reasons. It would seem as if Apple’s security just isn’t good enough for the world’s leaders, no matter which country they’re in.

But people love to speculate.