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Saint Lucia Breaks Records in Tourism Arrivals, highlights Tourism Minister

The island of Saint Lucia continues to break records in tourism arrivals and rivalling all the best records till date. Saint Lucia has witnessed a significant rise of 42% in arrival of visitors in the month of June, 2024.

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The court’s ruling comes after the festival’s organizers announced the cancellation of this year’s event, citing “possible risks… in the current circumstances.” The announcement was made on VKontakte, a Russian social media platform, where the organizers expressed their regret over the decision

Russia Forces Apple to Remove VPN Apps from App Store Amid Escalating Censorship

WorldRussiaRussia Forces Apple to Remove VPN Apps from App Store Amid Escalating Censorship

Moscow, Russia — At least two VPN services, Red Shield VPN and Le VPN, announced on Thursday that Russian authorities have successfully compelled Apple to delete their applications from its App Store in Russia.

This move marks a significant intensification in the country’s efforts to control internet access and restrict the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).

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Identically worded messages from Apple’s app review team to Red Shield VPN and Le VPN indicated that their applications will be removed “per demand from Roskomnadzor.” Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state media watchdog, has been at the forefront of the country’s internet censorship efforts, particularly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The regulator has banned numerous Western social media platforms and blacklisted opposition media websites in an effort to control the narrative and stifle dissent.

Roskomnadzor has also been actively attempting to restrict the use of VPNs, which are often used to bypass internet censorship. Efforts have ranged from voluntary inclusion in a state-approved whitelist to outright blocking of VPN services.

According to experts, an increasing number of VPNs have been blocked in Russia, leaving fewer options for users to circumvent the country’s stringent internet restrictions.

The emails published by Le VPN and Red Shield VPN show that the regulator demanded Apple remove the two VPNs due to unspecified “content that is illegal in Russia.”

This vague reasoning aligns with Russia’s broad censorship laws, which have been used to justify the suppression of various forms of digital content.

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Le VPN has appealed the decision with Roskomnadzor and is working with other VPN providers and rights activists to evaluate the broader implications of this development.

In a statement, Le VPN highlighted the significant escalation in Roskomnadzor’s capabilities, noting the increasing influence the regulator holds over major technology companies like Apple.

“This recent development underscores a significant escalation in Roskomnadzor’s capabilities, demonstrating its increasing influence over major technology companies like Apple,” Le VPN said.

“The outcome of this incident could have far-reaching effects on how global tech companies operate in jurisdictions with stringent regulatory environments, influencing both business operations and user access to digital resources.”

Red Shield VPN, on the other hand, has recommended that users change their Apple ID’s region or country settings to regain access to their application.

This workaround reflects the ongoing cat-and-mouse game between Russian authorities and internet users seeking to maintain access to uncensored information.

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The crackdown on VPNs comes as part of a broader trend of tightening internet controls in Russia. On March 1, Roskomnadzor gained the power to block websites that provide information on how to access prohibited resources or advocate for or sell circumvention technologies like VPNs.

Experts warn that this new authority will further hinder users’ ability to learn about and download VPNs, exacerbating the challenges posed by Russia’s wartime censorship rules.

As Roskomnadzor continues to expand its reach, the implications for both users and technology companies are profound. The removal of VPNs from the App Store not only limits user access to information but also sets a precedent for other countries with stringent regulatory environments.

The global tech community will be watching closely to see how companies like Apple navigate these complex and often conflicting demands, balancing their commitment to user privacy and freedom with the regulatory pressures of operating in markets like Russia.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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