Today, we will review issues related to the state policy in the field of international information security. This is an urgent and extremely important theme.
The 21st century is rightly described as a time of breakthroughs in information technology. As we are well aware, this technology has conquered practically all spheres of life. It includes new telecommunication and global communication systems, the so-called Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, e-government services and digital medicine. Traditional activity areas of state, society and business undergo radical transformation with completely new opportunities for developing economy and labour market, and improving living standards.
At the same time, new technological solutions engender new risks. We observe that the global digital space often becomes a venue for tough information confrontation, unfair competition and cyber-attacks. All this fundamentally changes the situation in the world. The digital environment is used by international terrorists and organized crime. In fact, there are many potential threats to shared, global security and to individual countries, including their sovereignty and national interests.
Russia was among the first countries to urge the international community to join efforts and work collectively in this area, new for our civilization. Back in 1998, Russia spearheaded a relevant resolution, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly. In fact, it was a call for broad-based cooperation in countering common threats in the cyberspace, primarily attempts to use the latest technology to disrupt international peace and stability.
Moreover, largely owing to our efforts, information security has become an item on the UN General Assembly’s agenda, and the adoption of a relevant resolution has become an annual event.
Our approaches to establishing a global regime for ensuring information security and developing clear-cut rules remain open, transparent and unaltered.
We believe it necessary to conclude universal international legal agreements designed to prevent conflicts and build a mutually beneficial partnership in the global cyberspace, to use it to the maximum extent for sustainable development of each nation, and to create favourable conditions for scientific research and rapid implementation of the most advanced technological solutions to stave off potential risks.
It is important to jointly develop and agree on universal and fair-for-all rules of responsible behaviour of States in the cyberspace with clear and easy-to-follow criteria for acceptable and unacceptable actions and to make them legally binding. In other words, each country must abide by these rules.
At the same time, we advocate for the inviolability of the digital sovereignty of States. This means that each country can independently determine the parameters for regulating its information space and corresponding infrastructure.
To reiterate, we support equality, order and mutual respect in the information sphere, as well as its progressive development. Naturally, all interested partners should be able to join the dialogue on this important agenda.
The adoption of the Basic Principles for the State Policy in the field of International Information Security in 2013 was a significant step in this critical strategic area. The document determined our main objective – to contribute to establishing a global international information space protection system.
The implementation of this document has led to a number of significant practical steps. In 2018, most of the UN Member States approved the Russia-sponsored resolution on international information security, which for the first time formalized the aforementioned rules of responsible behaviour in this area.
In 2019, a specialized negotiating mechanism was launched under the auspices of the UN, also created at Russia’s initiative – the Open-Ended Working Group.
We have proposed more interesting and forward-looking ideas in this area, including the development of a global convention on countering cybercrime, which have been supported by many countries.
Today, it is important to be more effective and more active in all the key areas. This is what the new edition of the Basic Principles for the State Policy in the field of International Information Security, which we will discuss today, should be doing. The previous Principles expired in 2020.
In this regard, I would like to highlight several crucial, in my view, points.
First, in the updated document, it is important to preserve the continuity of our strategy to prevent conflicts in the information space. It is necessary to reaffirm our commitment to the earlier declared state policy objective, and, at the same time, to clarify its priorities with due account for current realities, and adjust them where necessary.
Second, Russia’s initiatives need to be promoted more vigorously with our greater participation in the negotiation process.
Let me emphasize – Russia, as before, is open to dialogue and constructive interaction with all its partners, both in a bilateral format and at international platforms and forums, first of all, certainly, in the United Nations.
As I have noted, in the past few years the UN has paid serious and increasing attention to ensuring security and developing the international information space. It is necessary to translate Russian ideas and proposals in the framework of this universal Organization into concrete solutions.
Surely, it is very important to give priority to the development of dialogue on these issues with our closest partners in the CSTO, CIS, SCO and BRICS.
Third, we should concentrate on developing mechanisms for practical cooperation in ensuring security of the global information space. The scope for partnership in this respect is exceptionally broad: exchange of experience and joint response to computer incidents, personnel training and research.
We should certainly help our colleagues, including, of course, our closest partners, build information security systems, provide relevant technology and equipment, and collectively investigate cybercrimes.
And fourth, to conclude, the effective implementation of the State Policy described in the new version of the Basic Principles requires more active use of the opportunities of scientific and expert circles and the business community, including, surely, the National Association for International Information Security.
To promote Russia’s position, it is important to strengthen existing and create new international discussion venues both in Russia and abroad. This is a very solid resource that has yet to reach its full potential.
And, certainly, it requires systematic and productive activities of authorities in this respect. I am primarily referring to the coordinating role of the Security Council and Foreign Ministry and cooperation between inter‑agency task forces.