Update: Le VPN Responds to Sudden Removal from Russian App Store, Reveals RKN Notice Details

Update: Le VPN Responds to Sudden Removal from Russian App Store, Reveals RKN Notice Details

At Le VPN, we continue to navigate the challenging situation regarding our app’s unexpected removal from the Russian App Store. As a follow-up to our previous announcements, we’d like to share important new developments in this ongoing story.

In a significant turn of events, we received an update from Apple one day after our app was unilaterally removed from the Russian App Store. This update included a notice from Roskomnadzor (RKN), the Russian federal agency overseeing media and communications. It’s crucial to emphasize that this notice arrived after our app had already been taken down, denying us any opportunity to address concerns before action was taken.

The RKN notice, dated June 24, 2024, informed us that our app’s page on the Russian App Store had been included in the “Unified register” of prohibited internet resources in Russia. According to the notice, our app page contains “prohibited information on ways, methods of providing access to information resources and (or) information and telecommunication networks, access to which is restricted on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Importantly, the RKN notice outlined a procedure that should have allowed us 24 hours to address any concerns before action was taken. However, this protocol was not followed in our case, as the app was removed before we even received the notice.

In response to this situation, we’ve issued the following statement to Apple:

This situation is further complicated by a critical technical constraint within the iOS app ecosystem. It is, in fact, not possible for app developers to update an iOS app’s description between versions. Descriptions can only be modified when submitting a new version of the app for review. This limitation highlights an incongruity in RKN’s request: they’re asking for the removal of information that we, as the app developers, cannot directly modify without Apple’s intervention or a full app update. The 24-hour compliance window becomes challenging to meet when the requested action is not within our immediate capability to execute.

We are actively working on a solution that we hope will allow us to return to the Russian App Store.

This situation underscores the complex challenges faced by privacy-focused services operating in an increasingly regulated digital landscape. We remain committed to providing secure and private internet access to our users worldwide while navigating the diverse and sometimes conflicting regulatory environments.

We appreciate the continued support and patience of our users during this time. We will provide further updates as the situation develops, and we work towards a resolution.

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