03.09.2021

Digital platforms try to compete with the government for determining the rules of the game

Digital platforms try to compete with the government for determining the rules of the game

The discussion was attended by the Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Maxim Parshin; Wai Min Kwok, Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer of the UN DESA; member of the State Duma Committee on information policy, technologies and communications Anton Gorelkin; Director of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation Vadim Glushchenko; Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Petr Ivanov; First Deputy General Director of ANO Dialog Regions, Kirill Istomin, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Petr Gorodov and Head of the Sociology Department of ANO Dialog Elena Udalova. The session was moderated by Dmitry Gornostaev, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Rossiya Segodnya.

The low level of safe behavior on the Internet among Russians and the recent growing demand in society for educating digital literacy was revealed by the study of ANO Dialog within the framework of the Society for Digitalization Readiness Index, which was announced by the General Director of ANO Dialog Alexey Goreslavsky last year at IGF and presented by Elena Udalova, head of the sociology department of ANO Dialog, at the EEF this year. Russia is in 27th place among 51 studied countries in terms of the level of society's predisposition for digitalization processes.

“Currently, there is a certain level of distrust towards digital platforms, and this isn't surprising,” stated Vadim Glushchenko, director of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation. “Before our eyes, they have turned into global transnational monopolies with a capitalization comparable to the GDP of developed countries. Notable examples: in 2019, the combined capitalization of the top five tech giants - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft - amounted to more than $ 7 trillion, which is more than Germany's GDP ($ 4.6 trillion). In these conditions, there is a tendency to tighten control over their activities. Such measures are aimed at combating their monopoly position in national markets, countering their opaque and biased moderation of information content, and protecting users' personal data." In this regard, it is worth noting that the review of the experience of foreign countries in the sphere of regulation of tech giants, conducted by the Center for Global IT-Cooperation, showed that many national governments are taking such measures to ensure that these platforms comply with national legislation, especially if they make a profit on the territory of the state.

Among the unfair practices of digital platforms that are worth fighting, Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Petr Ivanov named manipulation of information (providing information that is beneficial to the digital platforms), imposing additional goods and services, providing advantages to their own services, including having general and vague rules of conduct and limiting the independence of actions of platform users, including sellers and buyers.

Anton Gorelkin, a member of the State Duma Committee on information policy, technologies and communications, is confident that the latter will retain the advantage in the interaction between digital platforms and states, since the entire infrastructure, including servers and communication lines, is located on the "offline" - territory. That is why states have every moral right to demand that digital platforms comply with national legislation. “At its core, the "law on landing" is just antimonopoly. We want foreign digital platforms with a high proportion of Russian users to have legal entities. Nobody is forcing them to build huge offices. The state is not interested in either banning or restricting online resources. We are interested in something else - in creating equal conditions for all market players, in transparency, in the safety of our citizens, in unquestioning respect for the rights of our citizens by foreign platforms,” concluded Anton Gorelkin. 

Ecosystems and digital platforms are rather good than evil since they allow us to satisfy the maximum number of our needs in a minimum amount of time, to this conclusion came the Deputy Minister of Digital Development Maxim Parshin. He also noted the initiatives of the OECD, which proposed the introduction of a global digital tax, which could level the business environment for both global and national digital platforms. “We have our own competitive platforms and ecosystems that successfully compete with global giants in our market without any pressure from the state. We, most importantly, don't destroy this balance with additional regulatory measures, we should not introduce any regulation that will hit primarily domestic market players. This should be avoided. We are talking about levelling the business environment. After all, for example, if you look at the effective tax rate of global giants and Russian companies, ours will be several times higher,” said Maxim Parshin. 

Eastern Economic Forum takes place on September 2-4 at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU). Key topic of the forum this year is “New Opportunities for the Far East in a Changed World”.