«International security in the global ICT environment in the context of the formation of a multipolar world»

On September 20, 2023 the XVII International Forum “Partnership of State authorities, civil society and the business community in ensuring international information security” concluded in Moscow. The title of the Forum was “International security in the global ICT environment in the context of the formation of a multipolar world”.

The Forum was organized by the National Association for International Information Security (NAIIS, https://namib.online) with the assistance of the office of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (http://www.scrf.gov.ru/), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (https://www.mid.ru/), other federal executive bodies, and the editorial board of the journal International Affairs (https://interaffairs.ru/).

Over 250 leading scientists and experts, representatives of business and civil society from 18 countries, the United Nations, the International Telecommunication Union, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), and Interpol participated in the Forum. Indicative of the current geopolitical situation, the Forum saw highly representative participation of African (Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania) and Asian nations (Cambodia, China, Malaysia, Thailand), as well as the preservation of long-established interaction with experts from the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the CIS (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan), the USA and the European Union. This reflects a real interest in the Russian approaches towards the formation of an international information security system and the unique experience of the Russian Federation.

The Forum was opened with addresses of the President of the Association Boris N. Miroshnikov and Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of NAIIS Oleg V Khramov.

The plenary session was dedicated to discussion of global threats to information security and strategic objectives for their reduction, which must be accomplished by authorized government agencies, law enforcement agencies, large businesses, as well as organization of effective international cooperation for these purposes.

The Chairman of the UN Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies, the Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN, H.E. Burhan Gafoor addressed the participants of the event with a welcoming speech. An address from the Chairman of the China Association for Friendship, Mr. Chen Zhimin, also aroused great interest among the audience.

The agenda of the sessions of the Forum reflected topical scientific, legal and practical tasks pertaining to ensuring digital sovereignty – first and foremost, to protection from criminal and destructive impact on national critical infrastructures and segments of the Internet.

In the context of a total hybrid war launched by the collective West against Russia and its partners, the Russian ICT business has acquired unique experience in ensuring the security of telecommunications and information systems. Representatives of Russian ICT companies participating in the Forum sent out a clear signal to friendly nations about their readiness to offer technological solutions in the field of information security, share their accumulated experience in computer attacks response, and implement training programs. Showcased at the Forum was the autonomous non-profit organization “Center for Coordination of Public-Private Partnerships in the Field of International Information Security” (ANO KOMIB), created by NAIIS as a tool and operational mechanism for solving these issues. The heads of leading Russian companies in the field of information security present at the Forum supported this step, noting its timeliness.

In the year of the 25th anniversary of the initiative of the Russian Federation to raise the problem of international information security at the UN, the Forum substantively considered new steps by Russia in this direction, including the updated concept of the UN Convention on International Information Security. In this context, the round table discussed the results of the research work “Challenges of Application of Norms of responsible behavior of States in the ICT environment and International cooperation”, completed in 2023 as part of the scientific activities of NAIIS. Particular attention was given to a wide range of issues related to implementation of the principles of International Law into legal norms, taking into account the characteristics of the ICT environment. Representatives of several nations emphasized the need to strengthen international cooperation on this issue in order to overcome differences and ensure global stability and security.

A rather heated debate arose when discussing the formation and improvement of the international legal framework for countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. The development of a universal convention on countering information crime by the UN Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee, launched at the initiative of Russia, faces sharp resistance from Western countries. Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for international cooperation in the field of information security Artur R. Lyukmanov called the results of the Sixth session of the Ad Hoc Committee contradictory, because the discussed “zero draft” of the Convention brings practically nothing new to increase the effectiveness of international cooperation in countering crimes in the ICT sector. The participants in the discussion agreed that the imposed project reflects the interests primarily of those delegations that for many years opposed the creation of the Ad Hoc Committee.

In the context of intensification of the information war against Russia and its partners by the collective West, the round table dedicated to the protection of traditional spiritual and moral values in the media space received special attention. Russian and international experts expressed concern about particular aspects of the formation of national identity and countering the attempts of the collective West to rewrite and distort the history of entire nations. Particularly important for Russia are the tasks of creation of channels for rapid dissemination of truthful information about the events in the country and the special military operation in Ukraine and improving the national education system.

As a natural development of this topic, the next round table launched a broad discussion on the issues of ensuring information security and cognitive development of children, adolescents and young people in the context of digital transformations. A significant range of challenges was outlined, from the scientific understanding of the deformation of consciousness of young people in mixed reality and the digital socialization of the individual, to practical issues. The practical issues pertain to filtering unwanted, destructive or false content, developing “digital hygiene” skills and widespread educational work to understand the threats of uncontrolled use of ICTs, prevent antisocial behavior and crime in the online environment, and improve a culture of safety.

In the context of formation of the new centers of power, the focus of international cooperation in the field of information security is shifting to regional frameworks. In this regard, special attention was paid to new formats of interaction, primarily with the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS, the African continent, and Southeast Asia. Russia has a lot to offer its dialogue partners, which is exemplified by successful initiatives and numerous cooperation agreements. The proposal to intensify joint scientific development of the topical issues of international information security within the framework of the international Consortium received great support from the Russian audience and international participants.

The discussed topics were brought together by the aggravation of confrontation in the global information space, caused by systemic violations by the collective West of the digital sovereignty of nations in the selfish interests of preserving a unipolar world, inculcating technological neo-colonialism and other ideologies destructive to society, as well as the rapid development of artificial intelligence, giving rise to fundamentally new challenges and threats to the entire system of international information security.

The Forum Agenda was extremely busy and included more than 100 in-person and online presentations. The Forum proceedings are planned to be published on the website of the National Association for International Information Security, in the journal “International Affairs”, and in a special booklet.

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