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RIGF Summary Report

That is all the story about the First Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF) where the meetings and roundtables brought together over 500 Russian and international participants. Almost all who are more or less interested in Internet governance attended the event and enjoyed the opportunity to both listen to the Russian and global Internet gurus and offer their own opinion. So, one can be sure that one of the RIGF primary objectives was achieved: a views sharing platform was established.


Vyacheslav Dukhin, moderator at the first plenary session: Bridging the Digital Divide and the Future of the Internet, noted in his opening remarks that “governance” is allergic for the Russians since it is associated with bans”. So, every speaker thought it appropriate to emphasize that IG is in no way a top-to-bottom process, but a product of all stakeholders’ dialogue.



The RIGF was opened by Igor Shegolev, Minister of Communications and Telecom RF, who compared human requirements in the Internet with those in air and underlined that the fight for a clean Internet equals to a fight for clean air, which is a must. “Our country is most proactive in shaping the global information environment,” said Shegolev. “Most countries, including Russia, boast a unique IG model, involving NGO, government, business community and common users.”

Following the minister’s welcoming remarks, an event occurred which was covered later by almost all Russian mass media, with over 300 links emerged in the Internet within one day, as estimated by the Coordinating Centre for Top-Level Domain (CCTLD) RF.

Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO ICANN, who visited Moscow specially to attend the RIGF, inaugurated the startup of .РФ TLD and handed to Andrei Kolesnikov, Director General CCTLD, a commemorative “certificate of birth” of the new Russian DN. More accurately, .РФ was born just hours before the RIGF opening, i.e. May 12, 17.41, while the first baby scream burst out at 18.00 when the first sites were activated:президент.рф, правительство.рф and кц.рф.



“This is an achievement of not only the CCTLD, because many people from various institutions have worked on the .РФ Project, noted Andrei Kolesnikov in his reply.






Then the plenary session progressed as planned. Lowrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary US Department of Commerce, mentioned that the United States is no less than other countries interested in web operational stability and the USDC-ICANN relationships pursue this objective. “We seek to protect public interests in all aspects,” summarized Strickling.




Mikhail Grishankov, Vice-Chairman State Duma Committee RF on Security, pointed out in his presentation: Issues of Internet Security, that confidence between all web-community stakeholders is a key principle in information society construction. Global community goes to the forefront in fighting against cybercrime in the Internet. “All countries should agree their approaches to Internet content evaluation,” said Grishankov. “Solely the international cooperation is in a position to stop the spread of illicit data.”

The moderator informed the audience about the recently translated book by Rod Beckstrom: The Starfish and the Spider. The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. Beckstrom called the Internet the “largest decentralized entity in global history” and the “ICANN being a spider among the starfish, which seeks to centralize the Internet.”  And then he seriously pointed to the ICANN as the coordinator of global domain space of names and numbers, but not a controller of it.

Gen. Vladislav Sherstyuk, Assistant Secretary Security Council RF, is probably the best known and most respected Russian information security expert in the world who chairs and informs the annual forum on information security (ISF) and combating terrorism in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, struck the audience by defining the Internet as a weapon. “The current IG system is turning into a new one and we should enhance confidence in it,” said Sherstyuk. The general also noted the importance of the new ND (.рф) launch in Russia.

Chuck Gomes, Chairman GNSO Council, vice-president VeriSign Information Services, highlighted the GNSO role in IG, in particular the specific current and past policy planning activities. The speaker gave an overview of future GNSO reforms and how the latter can help overcome the digital gap and ensure Internet user community involvement.

Evgeniy Yurtchenko, Director General Svyazinvest, spoke in his presentation: The Digital Gap Action by Svyazinvest, about the company as a major Internet operator ensuring equal access to the Internet for all Russians. “Our goal is to give access to the Internet resources for all individuals of our country,” he said.

Chris Disspain, Chair ccNSO ICANN, CEO au Domain Administration Ltd., described the role of ND administrators in overcoming the digital gap. “The ccTLD administration has a clear-cut technical remit, yet we also boast the relevant political and diplomatic skills. All our initiatives should be carefully coordinated with governments and practical arrangements should be found to interface with the authorities,” noted Disspain.

Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwaechter, University of Aahrus, called the digital gap in his presentation: The New Generation Digital Gap Measurements and Challenges, as primarily the gap between online and offline users, i.e. those who use the Internet proactively or just consume the menu offered. “The main threat currently is the non-use of the Internet opportunities. All the rest, including the dark sides of the web, we can cope with just as we do it the adverse phenomena in real life, the professor said.



Mikhail Yakushev, Chair CCTLD RF, when opening Section 1: Legal Issues of Internet Governance, called upon the attendance to discuss Internet regulation in Russia and globally.





Prof. Rolph Weber, University of Zurich, focused the audience in his presentation: The IGF: Summation and Outlook into the Future, on the Internet having become for nearly all humans a valuable means of everyday communication and turned from a technical network into a socio‑economic, cultural and legal phenomenon affecting all and everyone. Since IG has to consider all the stakeholders, the first Internet Governance Forum was organized 2006, which provided a venue for government officials, businessmen and civil society to debate Internet-relation public policies. It is the trilateral discussion on IG, which provides evidence to IGF impact on global Internet development and the need for such further meetings both globally, regionally and nationally.

Maksim Bobin, GP vice-president, spoke in his presentation: Internet Provider Authority Division in Russia, about an important issue of local communications legislation, i.e. the lack of delineation between access provider and service provider. “This entails serious problems for access providers who must not, in effect, be responsible for the user-generated content and, moreover, not for mass moderation or premoderation,” said Bobin.



Mikhail Fedotov, Secretary of Russian Journalists Alliance, recalled a citation from “Life and Fate” by Vassiliy Grossman: “Most complicated problems always have simple and clear wrong solutions.” He was fearful of the .рф future in RUnet development, namely: whether .рф and other non-Latin domains would pave the way for Internet nationalization and defragmentation?  The speaker also emphasized that law is not most efficient in Internet regulation given that there are other approaches to developing the Internet environment.

Elena Volchinskaya, Senior Advisor to State Duma RF Committee on Security, described the ongoing Internet regulation processes and focused the audience on the Internet being governed by yet many legislative acts.

Andrei Fedossenko, Senior Advisor to SD Federal Assembly Committee RF on Constitutional Law and State Construction, referred to personal data protection in Russia and reiterated the many speakers’ idea that personal data regulation in Russia that quality regulation implies the balance of all stakeholders’ interests.




Section 2: The Global Internet Security, which was moderated by Ivan Zassurskiy, the network mass media practician, academician and ideologist, turned out to be most comprehensive.





Andrei Yarnykh, Kaspersky Lab, reviewed recent malware attacks against bank clients. “The goal of any infection is money. All is paid for. $120 for infection, about $7 for user ID record and $55 for a Trojan virus infection, which feeds easily user credit card data from the infected PC, etc.”




Prof. Albena Spassova, Life-1 University, offered the presentation: The Global Internet Security: Fundamental and Working Solutions in Cybercrime as a Practical Guide Based on EU Experience, where she set forth the actual attacks and threats in the Internet as well as some counteraction measures.




Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO ICANN, described the international experience in Internet-threat control. “Cybercrime has grown 30% compared with the previous year. It is a serious problem and we have to fight against it collectively,” he said. The action taken against the conficker virus demonstrated the way to operate amid a major international virus attack. “The conficker is not centralized virus. The hacker is unknown, but he infected from 3 to 5MM PC. The ICANN was involved in combating the conficker in over 100 countries, and we ascertained in practice that the entire Internet community worked hand in hand.”

Mikhail Kader, Senior Expert Cisco Systems, offered the presentation: How It Works Globally, to highlight several most common methods of user ID data theft and virus setup on user PC by offering pseudo-helpful Antivirus XP as well as some frauds using torrents and other most common applications. “It is very hard to fight against cybercrime solely through Russian law enforcement agencies. In such case, the best option is to turn to telecom providers who boast a wealthy record in this area.”


Evgeniy Bespalov (Friendly RUnet Fund) covered the progress of the Children’s Porno Fund action program. “In 2009, we received 9700 messages on child porno in the Internet. 3300 resources we were informed of were removed in full or in part.” He also said that Internet security is a task, which may be resolved solely by rallying the efforts of the Internet industry, NGO and government agencies. This is the current top-agenda issue of the Friendly RUnet Fund.

Dmitriy Chistov, Chief Editor Internet in Numbers Journal, gave an overview of the various IG models in various countries. “The Internet was born as a free environment and got split later when each country began to regulate it in its own way. Yet we should remember that the Internet may not be divided into parts. It is integral and, therefore, we should try to reach a consensus in regulation.”

Section 3: Balance between Transparency and Protection of Privacy in the Internet Governance, interested highly the Russian and international IGF participants at an early stage of its preparations. Indeed, personal data security is key in the global cyberspace.




Anton Nossik, session moderator and the founder of Pomogi.Org/La Vérité, asked the audience about how to delineate the public right to keep data about a person from privacy.





Leslie Cowly, CEO Nominet, shared with the audience in her presentation: Balance between Transparency and Privacy in Internet Governance, the experience gained by the .uk DN in domain-owner protection and its cooperation with the law enforcement agencies. “In the UK, we apply both the European and British privacy law. Yet in the current volatile Internet reality, it is very hard to think up and enact promptly new laws, so we are also guided by common sense,” said Cowly. She also explained why the majority of people do not believe that their data contained in the national databases would be protected from unauthorized access, as well as the cause of respective solution non-scalability internationally.

Sabina Dolderer, CEO DENIC, described in her presentation: Collective Approach to TLD Governance. DENIC Experience, the .de development over the 24 years of its service record. She told how the German ND established finally a dialogue with both lawyers specialized in DN area and all the stakeholders keen on DN promotion.



Таttu Mambataliyeva, Director General GIIP Foundation, gave high focus to the Internet role in social processes in Kyrgyzstan. She said that the Internet helped defuse the emotions and allowed communication and understanding between the northern and southern regions.




]Ulyana Zinina, Senior Laywer Yandex, asked whether the data on user site visits is his/her personal data. She tackled user anonymity in the Internet and real life and summarized that offline is more anonymous than online.

Prof. Andrei Lukatskiy, Cisco Business Development Manager, elaborated on fairly complicated issues in his presentation: Current Approaches to Privacy. “These approaches vary from stiff regulation, also by a third party/arbiter, to self-regulation and the so called market-based approach. Each of those has its upsides and downsides and none may be called best,” said the speaker.

Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwaechter, University of Aahrus, envisioned the future of the Internet and social networks. “Social networks are an excellent opportunity for communication and development, yet one should not forget about his/her personal data,” he said. “The new generation of social network users has an absolutely different idea about privacy. It differs significantly from the common concept. So, conflicts are frequent especially with the youth who accept privacy intrusion.” The majority of personal data protection problems arise exactly from neglect of the interests of all the stakeholders and, therefore, no balance of interests is observed in decision making, said Prof. Kleinwaechter.

Section 4: Internationalized Domain Names was started by Andrei Kolesnikov, Director General CCTLD RF, who stated: “I typed yesterday президент.рф – that’s great! Seems I’ve been doing it all my life.” When describing the .рф, he noted that about 80 000 trademarks are currently on record in Russia, with many owners to have applied for .рф registration. “The .рф registration procedure was fairly long just because both we and the ICANN were very careful about it. The Internet is an interrelated system  where each component must work for its integrity. Our IDN simply may not break down and we have done our best to avoid it,” he said.

Chuck Gomes, Chairman GNSO Council, vice-president VeriSign Information Services, highlighted the gIDN and their purpose, while noting that the user has always been the centerpiece in any ICANN’s initiative. “The IDN is convenient indeed for ever new Internet users. That is why we work closely on this project.”

Chris Disspain, Chair ccNSO ICANN, CEO au Domain Administration Ltd., said: “Russia strived most proactively in promoting the ND in national languages. It is of importance to us. We believed that IDN implementation would have taken 3 to 5 years. The fact of Russia having received the .рф domain today is a good example of how much can be achieved following common interests.”

Albena Spassova described .бг IDN promotion in Bulgaria. Tina Dam, Senior Director IDN ICANN, highlighted the global IDN implementation processes. “Cyrillic is complicated for IDN promotion, since it’s too similar to Latin. It was not easy for Russia, but you’ve reaped great success.” she said.
Section 5: Socio-Cultural Aspects of Internet Governance: Education, Science, Culture,which was held on the IGF second day, was devoted primarily to education. It was moderated by Prof. Galina Soldatova,  D.Psh.& Maths, Correspondent Member Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, Director General Internet Development Fund, Chancellor Moscow Open Education Institute,
Alexei Semenov pointed out in his presentation: The Paradoxes and Perspective of the Modern Information Environment at School, that modern education changes very fast, with only 10 to 15 years required against what used to take one century in the past. “There is not use to count PC per capita for lack of other Internet-access devices. Yet all this is of no importance for education quality,” he said.

Prof. Andrei Shatin, D.E., Chancellor Chelyabinsk State University, described the innovations in Chelyabinsk region boasting the e-university for second higher education and retraining. “The crisis hit the Urals strongly. We have many mono-employer cities and many jobless. We help these people get rertrained quickly and in a quality way in order to land their new place in the society,” he said.

Natalya Samoilenko, CEO Potanin Charity Fund, described the online-professor portal, which helps most proactive faculty create their own web-sits for ongoing teaching.

Alexandre Gorelik, Director UNIC/Moscow, drew the participants to access to ICT for the disabled. “The digital gap applies entirely to the distance between common people and the handicapped,” he said. Gorelik indicated what is being done to improve access to ICT for the disabled in Russia and globally. 

Prof. Vyacheslave Ilyin, D.Maths, Head of Lab Nuclear Physics Institute, Moscow State University, offered a presentation: The Internet and Science. A Look from the BAC.

Alexandre Voyskunsky, Ph.D./Psycology, Moscow State University, provided in his presentation: The Internet as a Playground. New Game Functionality in the Network Community, the interesting data on web-game impact on human personality development.

Alexei Demidov, Chairman of the Board Information for All NGO, noted the media education opportunities and expressed his fears with respect to maintaining spirituality and morals in the information society in Russia.

Of an interest turned out to be Section 6: Managing the Critical Infrastructure of the Internet, which was moderated by Oleg Chutov, Head of Department Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications RF. “The world is changing thanks to the Internet. There is still a digital gap in Russia. What could give us the Internet in the future? That’s the talk we need.”

Andrei Robachevskiy, Technical Director RIPE NCC, IAB member, described the primary IETF practices. “Currently, the IETF is developing a lot of processes, including, for example, ensuring a quality and uninterrupted interoperability between IPv6 and IPv4,” he said.

Alexandre Germogenov, deputy head Department MTMC RF, highlighted Russia’s contribution to GAC ICANN, including over 90 countries.
Marina Nikerova, First Deputy Director General Technical Internet Centre, described the .ru and рф Coordinating Centre as well as the newly-founded TIC operations.

Axel Pawlik, Managing Director RIPE NCC, reviewed in his presentation: The RIR and Internet Number Resources, reviewed the role of RIR in IPv4 and IPv6 address space distribution. The speaker detailed the role of RIR in motivating IPv6 development in regional communities as well as RIR interface with various stakeholders in government.

The session was closed by Anatoliy Streltsov, Head of Department, Security Council RF Office. “The Internet is progressing very intensively. And, while it has no boundaries, yet people live within the latter. That is why Internet regulation requires close international cooperation,” he said.
All the speakers at the final plenary session: Internet Governance: New Challenges and Opportunities for Russia and the World, which was moderated by Alexei Soldatov, Vice-Minister MTMC RF, member of CCTLD Council, indicated that Internet governance has generated wide public debates over many years.

Stefano Trumpy, expert Institute for Informatics and Telematics NRC Italy, reviewed the IG critical resources. “Currently, we focus primarily on address and DN administration, since it warrants stable Internet operation for all countries,” he said. The speaker also mentioned the ICANN’s changing role In this process in the context of internationalized DNS administration in pursuit of the Affirmation of Commitments, signed between the US government and the ICANN.

Prof. Alexandre Borissov, Moscow State Institute for International Relations, member of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on the Mass Media, outlined the CE’s efforts in Internet regulation. “It’s very hard to bring it through to our Internet community to be more proactive in defining Russia’s position internationally,” he regretted and invited the audience to get involved.

Axel Pawlik, Managing Director RIPE NCC, offered the presentation: The IFG Mandate Renewal: NRO’s View.

Marcus Kummer, Executive Coordinator IGF Secretariat, described the preparations for the fifth annual IGF Meeting to be held September 14-17, 2010 in Vilnius and invited the RIGF participants to attend. Also, the speaker informed the audience of the UN GA intending to decide at the end of 2010 on extending the IGF mandate for another five years.

Mikhail Yakushev, Chairman of the CCTLD Council, said in his final remarks that the RIGF organizers had set it as their primary objective to ensure close networking. “And we’ve done it. Those who perform Internet governance internationally and those who are in charge of it in Russia have met to make introductions. We also have learned about the scale of our colleagues’ agenda. I found interesting all our sessions that I attended, because live communication and expert opinions are always of an interest and importance,” he said.  The speaker also said that IG involves three partners, i.e. government, business and civil society. Once any of them falls out, the decisions made turn out to be flawed, as well as the draft laws.”

As for the RIGF lessons, Mr. Yakushev noted primarily the need for a prompt real vertical cooperation between government, business and the society. Also, he emphasized the importance of unified terms and definitions. “Many English terms have no close translation in Russian, so we mean different things and misunderstand. The forum has evidenced in clear the need for an urgent development of the specialized glossary.” The speaker dwelled on the .рф launch: “The Russian DN opening requires close coordination with similar non-Latin domain administrations in other countries. And we should be aware that we are trailblazers in this area and few can help us in this coordination.”

In closing the RIGF, Alexei Soldatov underlined the need for using all the opportunities available for networking between individuals, businessmen and government officials with regard to Internet governance.