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Lithuania asks Google, Apple to remove Russia's Yandex ride-hailing app

Lithuania asks Google and Apple to remove Yandex ride-hailing app -transport ministry
Lithuania asks Google and Apple to remove Yandex ride-hailing app -transport ministry   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters

VILNIUS -Lithuania has asked Google and Apple to remove the app for the ride-hailing service, owned by Russia’s Yandex and Uber, the transport and economy ministers said on Monday.

The request to remove the app in Lithuania is in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the transport ministry said in a statement.

Yandex did not immediately comment.

“Security of our people and their data is of utmost importance now … The ride-hailing app, which threatens our national security, must be stopped in Lithuania,” transport minister Marius Skuodis said in the statement. is not licensed in Lithuania as the service is provided by drivers who enroll via the app, the ministry said.

Lithuanian state Cyber Security Centre in 2018 advised against using the app, saying it suspects the app collects excessive amounts of user data and can send it to servers in Russia, making it available to Russian security officers.

In response, Lithuania 15min news outlet quoted a Yandex official saying all user data is processed within the European Union.

Uber holds a 29% stake in Yandex’s mobility businesses, which include ride-hailing and car-sharing.

But as of late December, Yandex has an American call option to acquire that stake from Uber for around $2 billion if exercised in September 2023.