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Trust is an important aspect of the economy

The afternoon of April 8 at RIGF 2021 was devoted to digital platforms and ways to build trust in supply chains. During the session on Digital platforms: the rules of the game, hosted by the Competence Center for Global IT Cooperation, the participants agreed digital platforms have become an integral part of our lives and provide numerous opportunities for public authorities, businesses and individual users, and are a powerful driver of economic growth. At the same time, the rapidly growing role of transnational tech giants in economic and political processes poses a serious question about their responsibility toward the users and the state.

The moderator, Vadim Vinogradov (Higher School of Economics), invited the participants to suggest ways of creating an environment of trust on online platforms to maximize their potential; how to enforce fair taxation of multinational internet companies and ensure their compliance with rules on competition; what common ground can be found in Russia’s approaches and those of other countries in order to ensure responsible market behavior by transnational internet companies.

Vladimir Tabak (ANO Dialog) defined digital platforms and added that digital platforms help people solve real problems by optimizing the process, and they should primarily be utility- oriented. “From where I stand, recent years have shown that the concept of a digital platform has a dual reputation. On the one hand, we have seen many projects that were digital for the sake of being digital. On the other hand, there are other projects that, due to a few simple online processes, are really helpful in greatly reducing the time needed to solve problems offline. For me, the definition of a digital platform is quite simple – it is a platform that helps people solve problems offline by optimizing these processes online. This is the essence of a digital platform and the concept that we are trying to implement in our work,” the speaker said.

Bella Cherkesova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia, noted that IT companies are gradually ceasing to be mere parts of technological infrastructure. They now have a tremendous influence on the audience. They are constantly improving their technological solutions for targeting information and achieving great results in managing the audience’s attention. “At the end of last year, Russia adopted legislation to regulate social media. In particular, they concern sanctions on websites whose owners restrict the dissemination of socially significant information. It was a prompt response to the recent challenges. Nevertheless, a number of issues remain unresolved,” she added.

Lucien Castex from AFNIC noted that there is still no single definition of a digital platform. In his opinion, this situation significantly slows down the development of general regulation. At the same time, there are several vectors of regulation – such as combating the spread of illegal content or regulating the activities of information intermediaries – which are not country specific and are treated in a similar way in almost all countries.

Vladimir Gabrielyan (Mail.Ru Group) pointed out that the internet is changing very quickly, and digital platforms are rapidly changing along with it. Legislation regulating tech companies and digital platforms has often become irrelevant by the time it comes into effect. Vadim Glushchenko from the Competence Center for Global IT Cooperation noted that the problem of the relationship between digital platforms and the state and society is global and does not only concern Russia; the contradictions between them are deepening everywhere.

The second day of RIGF 2021 ended with the session on Building a system of trust in supply chains, moderated by Nikolai Zubarev from ANO Digital Economy.

Experts noted in their remarks that trust for IT products and services is gaining value amid the developing digital transformation. At the same time, it is not always possible to investigate the producer for compliance with basic security principles. The global community is looking for workable mechanisms of collaboration between states, IT communities, manufacturers and researchers to develop norms, standards and rules that can regulate this industry.

Andrei Yarnykh from Kaspersky Lab said that trust is the most important currency, especially in matters of information security. Stanislav Fesenko (Group-IB) added that trust ensures stability; it can and should be assessed from the financial point of view, and it is extremely important to build trusted supply chains in those areas of economic development on which the stability of our state depends.

Yelena Bocherova (Acronis-Infosecurity) spoke about the scope of business responsibility when responding to digital threats and raised the question of who should inform and educate users about information security rules.

Artyom Kungurtsev (Moscow Department of Information Technology), in turn, noted that, as representative of the public sector, the Department of Information Technology should be able to quickly pick up on the vulnerabilities that emerge on a regular basis. He invited vendors to think about this and make changes to the existing government contacts – to offer a bug bounty program for the warranty period. “We want the products that we use for government projects to be as securely protected as possible,” he added. Ghislain de Salins, OECD and Oleg Sedov (Rostelecom-Solar) also spoke about ways to create trusted supply chain systems. “Trust is an important aspect of the economy,” Ghislain de Salins concluded.