22.12.2022

Global Digital Compact: Opinions of the Russian Expert Society

Global Digital Compact: Opinions of the Russian Expert Society

The event focused on the first results and prospects of the Russian expert community's efforts to develop general proposals for inclusion in the Global Digital Compact (GDC). The participants of the event discussed how to reflect Russian interests in the future treaty and which international partners could become like-minded people.

The discussion was attended by Vadim Glushchenko, Director of the Center for Global IT Cooperation, Vyacheslav Erokhin, Deputy Head of the Laboratory of Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center of FSBI NIIR (Federal State Budgetary Institution Radio Research and Development Institute), Andrey Vorobyev, Director of .RU/.РФ Domain Coordination Center, Andrey Kashanin, Deputy Director of the IPAG HSE, Lenar Fayzutdinov, First Deputy of Chief Executive Officer of Dialog ANO, and Artem Mikhailov, CEO of e-Legion. The Round Table was moderated by Roman Chukov, Chairman of the Board of the Center for Global IT Cooperation. 

Vadim Glushchenko opened the Round Table by telling about the results of the UN Internet Governance Forum held in Addis Ababa from November 28 to December 2. He paid special attention to the draft the Forum Outcome – the "Addis Ababa IFG Messages", which are still open for additions and adjustments. "There are things in the draft "Messages" that are worth to be noted in connection with the development of common ideas of the Russian expert community for the GDС. Of course, some points of this draft go against our interests, but there are also the points that can be used to good advantage. The fact that there are different approaches to Internet governance in the world, including in the context of countries protecting their digital sovereignty, has been critically emphasized," Vadim Glushchenko said.

In his speech, Vyacheslav Erokhin noted that the main reason for the GDC’s appearance on the agenda was in the American-centricity of the Internet ecosystem. "With the development of the global network, this situation has ceased to suit many countries - the Internet cannot be controlled by one state or a group of states - that was the purpose of the adoption of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, which contains the top-level regulatory framework. And great many people agree with this point of view. The GDC will most likely be very similar to the existing treaties," he said. When asked what the Russian expert community should start from when working on proposals for the document, the expert replied that, first of all, from common sense and one’s own needs, and secondly, from existing Russian national regulatory documents such as the "Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of International Information Security", the provisions of the National Program "Digital Economy", etc.

"Russia's approach to the issue of Internet governance is peculiar. On the one hand, we are very concerned about the issues of cybersecurity, especially the security of users and data. And at the same time, we want to be ahead of the whole world in the field of digital economy, which means the accumulation of a huge amount of personal data on various sites, such as the portal of government services itself.

Therefore, it is often difficult to work out a common position," Andrey Kashanin began. He noted that Internet governance should be based on the cooperative behavior of all stakeholders. For example, the state should respect other stakeholders and listen to them. This often does not happen in organizations that deal with Internet governance issues, such as ICANN. As a result, nobody benefits in terms of mutual understanding.

Andrey Vorobyov also noted the special role of cybersecurity in the Russian controversy over Internet governance. He also suggested that young people should be more actively involved in the process of formulating ideas for the GDC, as this document would have the greatest impact on them in the future. In addition, young people often have a much better understanding of the processes that take place in a fast-changing online environment.

Lenar Fayzutdinov dedicated his speech to the problem of holding the biggest digital players accountable, who have recently developed their approaches to content moderation for political reasons, without regard to user safety or compliance with national legislation. In this way, the dissemination of fake information becomes a part of the information war, while the digital platforms themselves are not ready to help remove the information or engage in fact-checking that could be trusted. Another sensitive issue is the protection of user’ rights, especially with regard to access to certain services and the integrity of personal data. One of the most recent examples is the removal of many Russian applications from the Pasture and Google Play stores. And it is necessary to fight against such lawlessness on a global scale.

Artem Mikhailov, a representative of the IT industry, believes that a human-centered approach should be made the "cornerstone" of the GDC’s development. "There is nothing wrong with companies using targeted advertising, another question is where they get this data from. The key point is that I, as the owner of the data, should be at the center, deciding what can and cannot be shared with the company. Putting a person in the center will solve a lot of problems in the field of regulation and make users subjects of law," he concluded.

The results of the Round Table will be reflected in the joint proposals of the Russian expert community to the Global Digital Compact.