6th International Safer Internet Forum results


The 6th International Safer Internet Forum, the industry’s main annual conference on online safety, organised by the Safe Internet League, had concluded on the 12th of May in the Rossiya Segodnya press centre, Moscow, Russia.

This year’s Forum saw a total of 600 guests — industry specialists, representatives of public organisations and government bodies from Russia, EU, CIS, USA and other nations. «This time we had a record number of participants and journalists covering the event, which we think was due to the hot issues of Russia’s national information security that were raised at the conference» noted Safe Internet League Chairman of the Board Denis Davydov. In particular, speaking at the opening of this Forum’s plenary session about how «in the global information space national laws are currently inapplicable, the norms of law and morals are watered down», Aide to President of the Russian Federation Igor Schegolev laid down three principles that could ensure a nation’s security on the Internet: nations should recognise each others’ right to information sovereignty; global internet companies should recognise the laws of a country whose nationals they are providing their services to; all nations should share the functions of Internet governance in a just way.

Said principles had formed the basis of this 6th International Safer Internet Forum’s draft resolution, drawn up and presented for public discussion earlier. «In this resolution we paid attention to the significant progress achieved in developing cutting-edge IT and telecom technologies and the attendant challenges to personal, societal and state security. To face these challenges, were are proposing to step up reforms of the current international arrangements regarding Internet governance, which at the moment is resides in the hands of a single nation (namely the USA), to share the responsibility and means of Internet governance among the nations according to the principles of multi-polar politics and mutual confidence» argued Safe Internet League Trustee Konstantin Malofeyev. The public discussions of the draft resolution, as noted by Mr Malofeyev, is to continue until May 20 (with comments and proposals welcome at resolution@safeinternet.ru), when its final text is to be approved and forwarded to the President of the Russian Federation’s Executive Office and international organizations. The full text of the draft resolution is available at the Forum’s official website www.safeinternetforum.ru.

Russian MP Yelena Mizulina, also present at the conference, used her speech to draw the attention from issues of global information security to those of private individuals, and children in particular. For example, Mrs Mizulina noted that her fellow legislators were already placing finishing touches to a bill that would give a clear legal definition of child pornography. She also assured the audience that they were going to introduce tougher penalties for failure to comply with the Law on the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development. In addition to that, the female MP proposed making it a criminal offence for adults to engage children in sex-themed correspondence and prohibiting search engines from displaying links to dangerous materials. The latter, she stressed, should be a particular focus for Roskomnadzor, which, to her amazement, had absolved their operators from all responsibility for their services’ output.

This was answered by Roskomnadzor Deputy Head Maksim Ksendzov, also present at the conference, who acknowledged that «in that regard Russian law is, indeed, far from perfect» and promised to review the MP’s proposal in due course.

The issue of search engines’ output was also raised in a speech by Safe Internet League Chairman of the Board Denis Davydov. In particular, he presented the results of the latest Search Engines Safety Rating, issued by the League and the National Rating Agency. In it, only one search engine, sputnik.ru, was found to be 100% safe for underage users. The popular yandex.ru and google.ru services (used at their strictest safety settings) were recommended for use only under adult supervision.

Apart from the issue of industry players’ responsibility, participants of this year’s Forum noted the parent community’s growing responsibility for ensuring the online safety of their children. In fact, the Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov told the audience that only 7% of children beyond 9 years old are using the Internet under adult supervision. «The vast majority of children, meanwhile, are going online alone, totally unprepared for the problems they are going to face: the acts of cruelty, the propaganda of destructive values, the twisted sexual interest, etc. This makes it exceedingly important to engage with the parents, to raise their media literacy, so that they, in turn, could influence their children» said Mr Astakhov.

Those attending the Forum then had the chance of pursuing the issues raised at the plenary session in more detail in specific sessions. These dealt with issues of cyberespionage, personal data privacy, information warfare, countering the spread of dangerous content, etc. Taking part in sessions were representatives from INTERPOL, European hotlines, Videntifier, Web Kontrol, InfoWatch, and Group-IB, Ashmanov and partners, MTS, Megafon, Kristall Protection, Mir Reklamy, Internet Development Foundation, Rational Internet Foundation, and many more.