How the tech industry "declared war" on Russia and supported Ukraine

Tech and telecommunications companies show solidarity with Ukraine and are halting their services for Russian users.

A week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine , all over the world there have been demonstrations of support for the Ukrainian people, while sanctions and boycott measures are being applied to the aggressor country. Tech companies are also taking action against Russia, blocking services, limiting access and shutting down operations in the country ruled by Vladimir Putin.

In the case of PayPal, the online payment service, has stopped accepting new users in Russia since this Wednesday, March 2, in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Some Russian users and banks have already been blocked from making transactions. In addition to Paypal, other payment entities have taken similar blocking actions, including American Visa, Mastercard and American Express, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as part of the sanctions on Russia.

Streaming platforms and apps limit access to state televisions

Spotify also took action, closing its Russian office . The company maintained the facilities in Russia by imposing a law introduced in July 2021 in Russian legislation that obliges social platforms with more than 500,000 daily users to open a local office, or suffer restrictions to see their operation in the country being banned. .

In a statement, Spotify says its top priority is the safety of its employees and ensuring that the platform continues to function as an important source of regional and global news. The company guarantees that it has reviewed thousands of war-related content since its inception, having restricted programs that are disseminated by means linked to the Russian state.

Apple has cut some of its services in Russia, in addition to having announced the suspension of the sale of products in the country . All products in the store were unavailable, with the company saying it is on the side of people impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition to limiting the use of Apple Pay in the country, Apple removed from the App Store platform, applications from state televisions, such as RT and Sputnik.

Streaming content platforms are also dropping their offer in Russia. Yesterday Disney announced that it will not release new films in the country due to the conflict situation. The company added that it would “make future business decisions” as the situation evolves and would provide humanitarian assistance through partner non-governmental organizations. Immediately after Disney’s announcement, Warner Bros. announced the cancellation of the Russian premiere of “The Batman”, which was scheduled for next Friday.

Netflix, on the other hand, said it did not see compliance with Russia’s new audiovisual law, which required the platform to include about 20 public channels operating in the country. As of March 1, both Netflix and other audiovisual services are required to broadcast content from social media associated with the Kremlin, including Channel One, the NTV entertainment network and the Orthodox Church Channel.

The streaming company also said it had temporarily stopped all future projects, as well as content acquisition in Russia, a source close to Reuters told Reuters. At this time, Netflix had four Russian series in production and one already in post-production that have been suspended for the time being.

Still with regard to the obligation of social platforms to include Russian channels, Meta , the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp said that it will restrict access to its networks to RT channels and to the Sputnik agency, social media controlled by the Russian government. Twitter also announced that it will add a warning to Kremlin-controlled news and message sharing links and also try to reduce circulation on the platform.

Also read- Apple announces new sanctions for Russia: no more products will be sold in Russia
Also Read – Countries supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Also Read – War: YouTube announces to block Russian channels RT and Sputnik across Europe
Also read- Visa and Mastercard block many financial transactions in Russia
Also read- FIFA bans Russian national teams and teams from all competitions

The boycott of Russia in entertainment and sport

The Cannes Film Festival confirmed that official Russian delegations would be banned from the 2022 event unless the confrontation with Ukraine ended.

The video game industry has also spoken out against the war in Ukraine. Electronic Arts has suspended Russian teams as well as the country’s national team in FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online.

Ukrainian Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov called on Microsoft and Sony to temporarily block all accounts belonging to Russian and Belarusian players. Fedorov also asked the organizations of eSports competitions to prevent the participation of gamers from both countries, as well as the cancellation of events that are planned for both territories.

Several video game studios are helping to raise donations to help the Ukrainian cause. Polish companies have made fundraising efforts: CD Projekt RED, creators of The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 donated more than 235 thousand dollars to entities that are helping refugees; Its counterpart Techland from Dying Light 2 also made a donation. And indie studio 11 Bit Studios was one of the first to act, recording a total of $715,000 in profits from its This War of Mine game for aid. Interestingly this game focuses on the human factor and collateral causes of war, appropriate to the current theme in Ukraine.

There are many studios that are raising funds and organizing channels on Discord to help Ukrainian developers flee the country: assistance at the borders, financial support and even housing are some of the actions.

The world football governing body FIFA has also prevented Russia from participating in the remaining qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup. And UEFA has also suspended Russian clubs from European competitions.

Telecommunications sector in tune to support Ukraine

Telecommunications operators have also been expressing support for the Ukrainian people, especially refugees or emigrants who have lost contact with their families. In Portugal  , MEO was the first operator to provide free calls to Ukraine and access to Ukrainian TV  , but also NOS, NOWO and Vodafone did the same, maintaining these conditions until 15 March. The support movement extends to other operators across Europe.

At Mobile World Congress 2022, which is taking place this week in Barcelona, ​​support for the Ukrainian cause was visible among visitors, as well as the organization. Even before the fair opened its doors, this Monday, the Russian pavilion, one of the many pavilions sponsored by countries, was cancelled .

Mykhailo Fedorov remains very active on Twitter, shooting calls for help in every possible direction, as well as calling for more sanctions on Russia. In order to keep Ukraine connected to the world, the minister asked Elon Musk to support Starlink terminals, for satellite internet access. The tycoon was ready and on Monday the equipment had already arrived at its destination.

In a  letter sent to ICANN,  the body that regulates the Internet worldwide, Mykhailo Fedorov also called for “strict sanctions” to be implemented against Russia “in the context of DNS regulation”. This is because Ukraine claims that Russia is carrying out a propaganda campaign to spread disinformation, hate speech and promote violence, as well as attacking Ukraine’s IT infrastructure, affecting its communications capabilities.

ICANN has been asked to restrict Russia’s access to the Internet by revoking domains such as “.ru”, “.рф” and “.su”, and shutting down servers in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition to having also asked SAP and Oracle for support in the Ukrainian cause. Oracle’s response was not long in coming, stating that on behalf of its 150,000 employees around the world, it has already suspended all operations in Russia, thus demonstrating its support for Ukraine.

It should also be remembered that the United States is restricting the export of technology to Russia, namely semiconductors, lasers, information security equipment, among others. The aim is to diminish the Russian government’s ability to become a leader in technological fields such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Also read- Apple announces new sanctions for Russia: no more products will be sold in Russia
Also Read – Countries supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Also Read – War: YouTube announces to block Russian channels RT and Sputnik across Europe
Also read- Visa and Mastercard block many financial transactions in Russia
Also read- FIFA bans Russian national teams and teams from all competitions

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