Medvedev: Global community must work together to regulate internet

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks at the 2016 St. Petersburg International Legal Forum,  May 18, 2016.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks at the 2016 St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, May 18, 2016.

Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
The Russian prime minister has urged the international community to act together in addressing global challenges.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has emphasized the importance of international cooperation on addressing new global challenges, including regulation of the internet, while admitting that the country has been feeling the pressure of Western sanctions.

"Our companies and citizens have been subjected to pressure for two years," said the head of the Russian government at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum on May 18.

According to the Russian prime minister, the main focus of work for the ministerial cabinet in the field of law should be the resolution of international disputes, the protection of intellectual property and the expansion of laws for new sectors, including the internet.

According to Stephen Crown, vice president of Microsoft, who was also present at the forum, the regulation of the cloud computing sphere is currently the most pressing issue.

Cooperation of states

"Russia is ready to prove the core values of our civilization, but we can achieve this goal only together," said Medvedev. "We must trust each other in solving the global problems of the state."

However, he said, the role of unilateral restrictions, including sanctions, has recently increased.

"Sanctions are becoming vague both in terms of their content and the circle of individuals [they concern]. Moreover, there are attempts to 'force' sanctions anywhere in the world in spite of all international agreements," he said.

According to Medvedev, it is necessary to make all important economic and political decisions in a legal form. At the same time, the country's authorities are ready to comply with the decisions of international courts.

"Our system remains open to the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, unless they are contrary to our public order," said Medvedev. However, in his view, some investors are using the "veil of a foreign jurisdiction" to have an effect on the Russian authorities. He did not elaborate upon which investors he meant.

According to Miriam Naor, president of the Supreme Court of Israel – also present at the forum – international co-operation, is necessary, at least, in the fight against terrorism.

"Over the past few decades, terrorism has become a global threat that requires global solutions and response," she said on May 19.

According to her, the fight against terrorism involves the restriction of fundamental freedoms; however, such restrictions must be justified and balanced.

Regulation of the internet

The main direction of development of the law, according to Medvedev, should be its expansion to include new sectors, primarily the internet.

"We live in the digital age, when it is very difficult to establish the identity of a counterparty in legal relations," he said.

According to him, legal instruments must comply with the new digital era, including the protection of intellectual property rights. The prime minister acknowledged that bans on the use of pirated content do not work in the modern world.

According to Microsoft's Stephen Crown, the regulation of the digital domain is inevitable, but it is important that it be limited. The development of cloud computing raises serious problems of information confidentiality, he said.

Microsoft estimates that in the near future, the world’s urban population will grow by 2 billion people. If this trend continues, it is necessary to think about how electricity will be used and how a variety of data storage services will work, said Crown.

Recently, on May 13, 2016, the Ministry of Communications published a new state program, according to which 99 per cent of Russian internet traffic should be transmitted internally by 2020. The internal digital infrastructure should be able to work autonomously.

The ministry attributed this initiative to security concerns.

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