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Lithuania calls for removal of Yandex apps from e-commerce platforms in Europe

Date

2022 04 06

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Aušrinė Armonaitė, the Minister of the Economy and Innovation, and Arvydas Anušauskas, the Minister of National Defence, applied to the ministers of other countries of the European Economic Area urging them to join the Lithuanian initiative, the essence of which is to encourage Apple and Google companies to remove Yandex apps from e-commerce platforms in Europe. These Russian apps for online booking of passenger transport service pose a threat to security of personal data.  

The ministers of our country also suggest looking for legal ways for removal of these apps from Apple and Google online stores. 

‘Given that threat of personal data leakage arises not only to Lithuanian citizens, but also to all users of Yandex apps in Europe, and the countries of the Community may individually cancel the services of mobility providers, we call on the ministers, who are responsible for digital policy and cyber security, to take collective steps in forming an overall response’, - said Aušrinė Armonaitė, the Minister of the Economy and Innovation.  

‘Threat of that personal data are leaked to Russian intelligence and security services arises to all residents of democratic countries, including those who use Russian social networks and e-mail services’, – emphasizes Arvydas Anušauskas, the Minister of National Defence.  

At the initiative of the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, since the middle of this March YandexGo app is no longer available on AppStore in the territory of Lithuania. However, YandexGo app is still operational in other countries of the European Economic Area, which, in addition to 27 EU members, also includes Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  

Back in 2018, the National Cyber Security Centre of Lithuania has presented the study of Yandex.Taxi app. The study emphasizes that the use of this app potentially creates conditions for illegal collection and storage of personal data.  

Based on information about the terms of use of the app, data collected from the user device are stored on the servers of the organisation located in the Russian Federation.  

The possibility of providing these data to public organisations, regulators, courts and other third parties is also mentioned in the terms of use of the app. This means that threat arises to all users of this app because personal data may be leaked to Russian intelligence and security services.