MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Today, information and communication technologies (ICT) have the same decisive impact on national and global development, they also determine the status of states in the international arena, the degree of their sovereignty, as nuclear technologies in the 40s of the last century or rocket and space technologies in the 50-60s. -70s.
The current and to an even greater extent the future face of the world is determined by the level of development and the degree of implementation of the latest information technologies: virtual finance, artificial intelligence, big data, etc.
However, not everyone in the international arena was aware of the costs of global digitalization, the resulting vulnerabilities and strategic problems. Today the world has changed, it has matured, the approaches of most states have become more pragmatic. Their practicality is based on the desire for equal access to new information and communication technologies (ICT) for some, and maintaining a leading position in this area for others.
Russia, standing at the origins of the negotiation process on international information security (IIB) and for more than twenty years forming the basic conceptual approaches and advanced ideas, like a tuning fork, has caught the new vibrations of the cybersphere. We initiated the creation of a new algorithm for the negotiation process on IIB issues.
Question: The Russian Federation is actively and successfully promoting global initiatives on international information security. As far as we know, in June of this year. At the suggestion of Russia, the UN Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) was launched on security in the use of ICTs and ICTs themselves 2021-2025. How do you assess the launch of a new negotiating platform and what goals does it pursue?
Answer: Russia’s main foreign policy priority in the field of international information security (IIB) remains the formation of a global IIB system based on the principles of preventing conflicts in the information space and encouraging the use of ICT for peaceful purposes. In this regard, we are actively working to ensure that the profile negotiation process under the auspices of the UN is continuous and successive. For this, in 2018, on the Russian initiative, a fundamentally new format was launched – the UN Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), in which, unlike the previous thematic platforms, all 193 UN member states take part. Having established, together with our partners, a new OEWG for the period 2021-2025, we were able to consolidate an inclusive and truly democratic mechanism for the long term, one of the priorities of which will be the development of universal rules, norms and principles of responsible behavior of states in the information space.
On June 1, 2021, the organizational session of the new OEWG was successfully held in New York. During the meeting, the key modalities of its work were agreed upon by consensus. It is gratifying to note that the candidacy of Singapore for the post of chairman of the Group, initially proposed by Russia, was supported by everyone – an experienced diplomat, the country’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, Burhan Ghafoor, took the lead in the process. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank our Singaporean colleagues for their responsible approach, expressed in their readiness to take over the leadership of such an important mechanism for the whole world.
In his welcoming remarks, the Chair emphasized that the Group provides an opportunity for states, large or small, to be heard, which in turn significantly contributes to confidence-building.
The organizing session also approved the Group’s agenda and rules of procedure, including consensus as a way of making decisions. Other organizational issues will be agreed before the start of the first substantive session of the OEWG in December this year. within the framework of broad consultations with all states. This once again underlines the truly democratic nature of this negotiating platform.
In general, the event was held in a constructive spirit, successfully fitting into the succession of successes of global cyber diplomacy, such as the adoption of the final reports of the first UN OEWG on IIB and the relevant Group of Governmental Experts, as well as the launch of the Ad Hoc Committee to develop under the auspices of the UN a universal international convention on countering the use of ICT in criminal purposes.
All participants in the process confirmed that the OEWG is an extremely demanded and promising mechanism for developing a discussion on the issues of ensuring IIB within the framework of the UN. Countries also supported our vision for the Group, based on the principles of universality, openness, transparency and democracy, as well as a focus on achieving practical results.
Question: You mentioned the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Promoting Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security. As you know, Russia was one of the most active participants in this process. How can you comment on the results of the Group’s work?
Answer: Quite recently (May 28, this year), the GGE, created at the initiative of the United States in 2018, adopted its final report by consensus.
I would like to emphasize that this became possible thanks to the hard work of the experts and their flexibility. The Russian delegation managed to achieve a reflection in the text of our principled approaches to ensuring IIB, including on the most pressing topics. In particular, attribution of incidents in the ICT sphere, international legal regulation of this area, the need for further work under the auspices of the UN on the rules of responsible behavior of states, as well as the possibility of developing legally binding norms.
By the way, the text of the GGE report notes the importance of continuing the global discussion on IIB in the OEWG format, which we just discussed with you.
The adoption of the GGE report testifies to the fact that if there is political will, countries can forget about existing contradictions and conduct not politicized, but pragmatic dialogue for the sake of achieving common success. This was the position taken by the Russian expert, which was noted by the majority of the members of the Group. It is very important to continue to maintain the existing constructive attitude in the global discussion on the provision of IIB already within the framework of the new OEWG.
Question: How are things going with the development of a cyber convention under the auspices of the UN, taking into account the fact that a number of Western countries initially opposed this initiative of Russia?
Answer: We are also seeing significant positive shifts on the track of countering cybercrime. Over the past two or three years, this topic has become an integral part of the agenda of many negotiating platforms, primarily the UN. The rampant cybercrime, which manifested itself most clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic, affected all countries and sectors of society without exception, presenting itself as a global problem that requires an appropriate response. This “industry” is highly profitable, but its actions are not always punishable. International cooperation of law enforcement agencies in this area, to put it mildly, is far from ideal and needs serious international legal adjustment. Russian initiatives at the UN precisely respond to these challenges of our time.
This year we have submitted another draft resolution of the UN General Assembly on this topic. The task was to develop and approve the rules for the work of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Committee of Experts, created on the initiative of Russia and another 46 states, to develop a comprehensive international convention on combating the use of ICT for criminal purposes, in order to give a start to the practical development of the convention. We have completed this task. Moreover, if, when adopting similar resolutions in 2018 and 2019. a number of states were categorically opposed to discussing the problem of information crime within the framework of the UN, this year our document was adopted by consensus.
Two years ago, we firmly defended only the very idea of the need to create such a universal tool. Now the world community was arguing about how we would do this, proving to each other that they need this convention more than anyone else and that it should have started working yesterday. This is an objective need and a clearly expressed political will of states.
Earlier, at the UN, states discussed for 10 years whether it was necessary to raise this or that topic, then for 10 years they prepared the first draft documents. We didn’t have time to swing. In a little over a year, Russian diplomacy managed to create and launch a full-fledged negotiating platform in the current difficult political environment. Now the first violin will be played not by diplomats, but by law enforcement agencies and lawyers, the best in their field, who are fighting cybercrime in real life.
They will have to develop a global convention within the framework of the Special Committee with the participation of all interested parties in a short time – in 2.5 years – and submit it to the UN General Assembly for consideration and approval during its 78th session, in 2023. For these purposes, the Ad Hoc Committee will hold 7 substantive sessions: 4 – in New York, including the first and the last two, 3 – in Vienna. The first meeting is scheduled for January 2022. There will be a very dynamic process.
The representative of Algeria became the chairman of the Special Committee, Indonesia was elected the rapporteur. These countries are active representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement, co-authors of our UN General Assembly Resolution 74/247 on the establishment of the Special Committee. In fact, they are also guarantors that the voice of developing states – the most interested party in this process – will be taken into account when drafting the convention. Russia, as the initiator of the negotiation process, was elected by a significant majority of votes to the Vice-Chairmen. Also, such countries as China, USA, Japan and some others – representatives of all regions of the world were elected to the officials of the Special Committee. Thus, an equal geographical representation was observed.
Question: How do you see the future convention on combating information crime?
Answer: It is important to understand that the future convention will not solve all the problems with cybercrime, this is only part of our comprehensive efforts, but it will allow us to take an important step towards consolidating the world community, exchange best practices, best practices, in order to get a high-quality interaction mechanism later. We are also convinced that when creating such a complex international instrument, it is necessary to strike a balance between the scope of the convention and the protection of human rights, to take into account the interests of business and possible legal conflicts.
In this regard, we have long ago shown and proved that this process is not aimed at somehow interfering with the existing instruments and mechanisms in this area. On the contrary, universal conventions should comprehensively strengthen the current capabilities of states, business and society, and make our life safer. And now there is a historic chance for all of us to join forces and take a big step forward in the fight against a common enemy – cybercrime. All the prerequisites for this have been created. The task is difficult, but we should not be afraid of it.
Question: In the international arena, Russia actively advocates from the standpoint of the peaceful use of ICT and the creation of a system for preventing cyber conflicts. Russian diplomats are working to develop, under the auspices of the UN, principles, norms and rules for the responsible behavior of states in the information space. Is it possible to involve all stakeholders in the process of shaping global information security?
Answer: We believe that building a truly effective, inclusive and transparent global IIB system requires broad involvement of all participants in the process. Such a mechanism has just been launched within the framework of the UN negotiating process on the IIB subject. The new UN Open-ended Working Group on Security in the Use of ICTs and ICTs themselves (OEWG) for a five-year term within the framework of its mandate is authorized to consider national initiatives in the field of IIB, as well as issues of institutionalizing the dialogue of the OEWG participants with other stakeholders – business, NGOs and scientific community.
The opportunity to establish support subgroups on specific aspects of her mandate will make the discussions more structured, specialized and dynamic, and will also allow the involvement of representatives of non-governmental organizations, the scientific and business communities in the negotiation process. This will contribute to strengthening confidence-building measures, building transparent and understandable “rules of the game” in the digital space.
The need to agree on generally accepted rules, norms and principles of behavior in cyberspace is as urgent as the need to create a mechanism for public-private partnership. The interests of the state and business in matters of IIB are now complementary. It is the business that suffers significant economic damage from illegal actions in the cyber sphere that is most interested in creating the “rules of the game” for themselves.
It is important to diversify the process of connecting business to the negotiation format by using this mechanism on such status platforms as the SCO, ASEAN, BRICS and others, which have recently repeatedly expressed their interest in the broad involvement of private companies in the IIB negotiation process.
Our Chinese partners are also aware of the importance of these approaches, and in such important regional structures as the SCO and the ASEAN Regional Forum for Security (ARF), they begin to promote their concepts of the digital economy to protect business and with its participation.
As for the participation of representatives of Russian business in international negotiations, we have recently seen a steady increase in the interest of Russian companies. For example, the Norilsk Nickel Group of Companies, Sberbank, IB-Group, Kaspersky Lab, InfoWatch and others have certain developments, interesting ideas and proposals in the field of information security that can make a tangible intellectual contribution to this process. …
It is important not only to create conditions for attracting business to dialogue, but also to give the public-private partnership in this area an institutional character.
Question: How do you see the prospects for international cooperation in the field of IIB? Will it be built according to the “patterns” of the West, or will Russian initiatives set the tone?
Answer: Today it is no longer enough to build international cooperation in the cybersphere based only on traditional formats of bilateral and multilateral interaction. Russia is open to contacts within the framework of cyber alliances, which need to be built in addition to existing international associations of the traditional type.
To this end, we have intensified the attraction of new like-minded people and the deepening of regional cooperation with an emphasis on the SCO member states, BRICS, ASEAN, JUCHTO, the African Union and other regional associations. We aim to intensify cooperation with such leading countries of Southeast Asia as Singapore and Malaysia, which determine the main trends in the development of this region.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which blocked the possibility of face-to-face meetings, we continue large-scale work at regional sites, including on the practical implementation of confidence-building measures in the field of ICT security. So, at the beginning of this year, within the framework of the ASEAN Regional Forum for Security (ARF), we were able to launch a discussion on terminology together with Cambodia, and in April – to organize a seminar on combating information crime with the support of China and Vietnam. We have also co-chaired the ARF’s ICT Security and ICT Security Intersessional Mechanism with Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and Australia.
In addition, in January 2021, a concept paper was approved on the establishment of the Russia-ASEAN Dialogue on ICT Security Issues. We look forward to launching it in the near future.
Traditionally, we are building up cooperation with our key partners and neighbors: a plan of priority measures is being developed to implement a profile initiative in the CIS – the Information Security Strategy, active work continues in the SCO and the CSTO.
The most important area is the signing of bilateral and multilateral intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the field of ensuring IIB, as well as joint statements of the heads of state on this topic. These documents open up broad opportunities for practical interaction and coordination of efforts in the context of the growing importance of information security issues in the world arena, and emphasize its political significance.
At present, Russia has signed 11 intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the field of IIB (this year with Iran and Kyrgyzstan), as well as 6 joint bilateral and multilateral statements of the heads of state in this area, the last of which are within the framework of the SCO and the CIS.
Question: In recent years, the humanitarian aspects of providing IIB have become increasingly important, which is increasingly being discussed on global discussion platforms. What approach does Russia adhere to in this matter?
Answer: The humanitarian aspects of information security, the ethics of using ICT are becoming the most important elements of global, national, public and personal security in the modern world. And information security itself is turning into a vital condition for ensuring the interests of a person, society and the state, and, therefore, it can and should become the subject of an international legal instrument developed under the auspices of the UN that protects citizens and especially children from the negative consequences of the information revolution.
Information and ICT, under certain conditions, can become one of the main levers of influence on users of the digital environment, a source of destabilization of any society and a resource of pressure on government authorities. Various types of fraudsters and criminals in search of potential “victims” in the digital global environment use more and more sophisticated tools of informational and psychological impact on users. Among them, children and adolescents become the most unprotected and exposed to various kinds of content, including destructive ones. Therefore, the issue of protecting minor citizens “living” in such an environment is extremely acute.
Unfortunately, the market principles of the Internet operation give rise to a situation in which the global information space can transform into an environment that is harmful to users.
Today, the Internet is turning into the main platform for the dissemination of not only information, but also various kinds of political manipulation. The main tool in this process is no longer classical media, but various digital platforms, social networks and instant messengers, which, under certain conditions, can act as a source of destabilization of any society and a resource of pressure on state power.
At the same time, the strict content management policies pursued by Western IT giants are beginning to take the form of censorship. Contrary to the declared goals of protecting free speech, companies such as Google and Facebook are actively interfering in the affairs of objectionable media and bloggers – they remove content or block entire channels. Today, it is they who represent the main source of information threat to the digital sovereignty of most states in the world. For example, in May 2020, the accounts of news agencies News Front, Anna News and TRK Krym-24 on YouTube were deleted without explanation or prior notification; in July – the account of the TV channel “Tsargrad” was deleted.
But there is another aspect of this problem – the responsibility of the owners of social networks for the distribution of prohibited content posted by users.
IT companies are, in fact, monopolists, grossly violating the norms of national legislation in terms of the rules for collecting and processing personal data. At the same time, transnational IT corporations under American jurisdiction bypass the legal norms of those states where they operate and violate their laws with impunity.
The regulation of their activities is a legal and inalienable sovereign right of each state to protect its information space, the interests of individuals and society, as well as ensure their security. For the Russian Federation, such a measure, along with the development of its own social networks and Internet platforms, is an important and necessary part of ensuring national digital sovereignty. The legal regulation measures that have already been adopted in Russia and are proposed for adoption are not at all stricter than in other countries.
Many countries understand the need to conclude an international agreement to regulate the activities of grid companies. However, the development of such a document will take time and political will.
Russia has consistently advocated the internationalization of Internet governance, an increase in the role of states in this process. Regulation of the Internet exclusively by the private sector, where the role of states that are the guarantors of the rights and freedoms of their citizens and play a major role in the economy, security and stability of critical information infrastructure has been leveled, has long been ineffective.
Within the framework of the UN system, Russia insists on the adoption of a number of coordinated measures, such as increasing the role of states in the process of Internet governance, developing a global policy in the field of Internet governance at the interstate level, ensuring its stable and safe functioning on the basis of international law, preserving the sovereign rights of states regulate the national segment of the Internet.
The issue of empowering the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which has the necessary competence and is now widely involved in the development of various standards and protocols for the Internet, is gaining importance.
The Russian Communications Administration has nominated Russian candidate R.R. Ismailov (President of VimpelCom PJSC, in 2014-2018 – Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation) for the post of ITU Secretary General. The elections will take place within the framework of the next Plenipotentiary Conference of the Union in 2022.
His election will strengthen the authority of Russia as a technologically advanced power and open a new “window of opportunity” for high-level dialogue on the development of ICT and the introduction of new communication technologies throughout the world.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.