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

A driver of Yandex.Taxi online ride-sharing service wearing a protective mask, used as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sits inside a car in Moscow, Russia April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

VILNIUS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Lithuania has asked Google (GOOGL.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) to remove the app for the ride-hailing service, owned by Russia's Yandex (YNDX.O) and Uber (UBER.N), 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. read more

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.

Reporting by Andrius Sytas, additional reporting by Alexander Marrow, editing by Terje Solsvik, John Stonestreet and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.