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

On September 18, 2023 the XVII International Forum on the challenges of forming a system of international information security opened in Moscow. The Forum is the central Russian platform for discussions of this topic in a format which includes government, business, scientific community, and public organizations.

The Forum is organized by the National Association for International Information Security (NAIIS) with the assistance of the office of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, other federal executive bodies, and the editorial board of the journal International Affairs.

Over 200 leading scientists and experts from 15 countries, representatives of the United Nations, the International Telecommunication Union, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), and Interpol participate in the Forum. Actual difficulties caused by the complicated international situation and logistics forced some international experts to participate online.

The Forum was opened by the President of the National Association for International Information Security, Boris N. Miroshnikov.

Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Oleg V. Khramov congratulated everyone on the start of work, pointed out the relevance of the Forum’s general topic in the new geopolitical conditions and wished success in finding mutually acceptable solutions to the challenges of ensuring international peace and stability in the ICT environment.

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, was also read out. In it he noted the role of strategic cooperation between Russia and the PRC, as well as possible directions for strengthening interaction with NAIIS, including countering cybercrime, improving bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of international information security, cybersecurity and data security, international rules and standards for cross-border data transfer.

President of the Association Boris N. Miroshnikov greeted all participants of the Forum on behalf of NAIIS and other organizers. In his speech he reminded everyone that the year 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Russia’s introduction of international information security issues to the UN, and pointed out current initiatives that confirm the country’s leadership in this area. Among the most significant achievements, the President of NAIIS noted the convening of the Group of Government Experts on International Information Security; the creation of the UN Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021–2025 and accreditation of the Association to participate in its work; convening of UN Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee on drafting a Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes; proposal for consideration of a concept of the UN Convention on International Information Security.

Summing up, Boris N. Miroshnikov focused on significant changes in the global world order and the formation of a multipolar world through strengthening the sovereignty of developing countries, rising role of the Global South, development of multilateral formats of cooperation, and expansion of BRICS and SCO membership. The world is changing, and this requires finding new formats of interaction on issues of mutual interest in research and reconfiguring of NAIIS in accord with the international agenda.

The busy agenda of the Plenary session of the Forum reflects the process of transformation of the global governance institutions, the diversity of actors forming a multipolar world and the versatility of the subject of international information security. The presentations of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey V. Vershinin, State Secretary – Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation Andrey V. Loginov, high-ranking representatives of other federal executive bodies of the Russian Federation, representatives of international organizations, experts from the business and scientific communities from Russia and attending nations were welcomed with great attention.

Six round tables will be held this year, with their topics significantly updated.

Round table 1 (moderated by the Vice-President of NAIIS Dmitri I. Grigoriev) will discuss development of public-private partnerships and their role in ensuring digital sovereignty of subjects of International Law, establishment of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and the implementation of national policy in the field of international information security. This set of issues is very important for Russia and other developing countries, which are strongly interested in finding politically neutral solutions to develop their own capabilities for ensuring the security of national information space, bridging digital divide and reducing dependence on the monopolists of the ICT market.

Round table 2 (moderated by Doctor of Law, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vice-President of NAIIS Anatoly A. Streltsov) will carry on the 2022 topic related to the task of building an international legal regime for regulating the use of ICTs. Representatives of Western countries are actively avoiding this discussion, replacing International Law with certain «rules», which they change according to the situation and apply to get one-way advantages. By contrast, developing countries are interested in equal conditions and clear legal norms that will allow creation of international frameworks to protect the interests of even weak nations. In this regard, the round table will discuss principles and norms of International Law in the ICT environment and approaches to delimitation and demarcation of boundaries of zones of responsible behavior of states. Without this, it is impossible to resolve controversial situations related to incidents in the ICT environment in the legal environment. Considerable attention will be given to the concept of the UN Convention on International Information Security, the development of which has been initiated by the Russian Federation.

Round table 3 (moderated by Deputy General Director of Ren TV, seven-time laureate of the TEFI award, author and host of the «Military Secret» program Igor S. Prokopenko) will raise new aspects of the challenge of preserving spiritual and moral values, a topic which sparked high interest among participants of the last year’s Forum. Proposed for discussion are the issues of falsification of individual facts and history in general, the formation of post-truth using AI, the task of counteracting and developing a culture of society. It is expected that the discussion will see a wide range of participants – from legislators and heads of academic institutions to historians, sociologists and military journalists.

Round table 4 will cover the basic component of the international information security system – countering computer crime in the global ICT environment (moderated by the Head of the Solar Security LLC Group, Alexander A. Vurasko). The participants will consider the latest trends in criminal activities in the global information space. A new aspect of this issue will be the practical use of computer attacks by the collective West as an element of a hybrid war against undesirable states. Significant emphasis will be placed on measures to combat computer crime, as well as on the tasks of improving International Law enforcement cooperation and Russian initiatives in this area. In particular, discussion will examine the status of work in the UN Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee on drafting a Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes, the draft of which Russia, together with Belarus, the DPRK, Nicaragua and Syria, submitted in May 2023 as an official document of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

An innovation of the Forum is the theme of Round table 5, dedicated to the existential problem of any digital society – ensuring information security of the younger generation (moderated by Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education Galina V. Soldatova). It is expected that the recently approved Concept of Information Security for Children will fuel an interesting discussion among legal scholars, legislators and experts representing various fields of the humanities, network business, law enforcement agencies. The main emphasis will be on preventing antisocial behavior and crime in the online environment, reducing the involvement of teenagers in extremist and terrorist activities, increasing the culture of safety and responsible attitude towards new communication technologies.

Round table 6 which concludes the Forum program, will traditionally discuss the issues of regional cooperation in the system of international information security, which is taking on a new meaning in the conditions of the formation of a multipolar world (moderated by Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor of MGIMO, Assistant to the President of NAIIS, Anatoly I. Smirnov). An important distinguishing feature of this round table is the prominent participation of experts representing various geographical zones and state-legal systems, regional organizations (BRICS, League of Arab States, African Union, ASEAN). This enables taking into account the nuances of political and practical approaches of various states, and helps to assess interest in specific and most relevant areas of cooperation, acceptable formats and levels of interaction – an important component of the partners search strategy.

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