March 28 – April 4, 2015
Russian nuclear-industrial complex to switch to Russian operating systems
Director of the Federal nuclear centre Valentin Kostyukov announced that the Russian nuclear-industrial weapons complex will use a Russian operating system instead of Windows OS. Government officials claim that it is important to protect sensitive information from external access by switching to Russian software. At the moment the new software is going through a final certification process with the aim to be fully implemented in 2016. Even still, Mr. Kostyukov notes that some organisations have started to use a beta version of the OS. In the face of Western sanctions, Russian authorities developed a plan to substitute imports with national products. This OS is the first of likely many local substitutions of international products.
Kyrgyzstan discusses personal data protection
The OSCE Centre in Kyrgyzstan organised a two-day conference on privacy and personal data protection issues on March 26th and 27th 2015. The conference provided a platform to study the importance of mechanisms of independent oversight as well as discuss the importance of improving the national administrative database in the face of changing international standards. Personal data has been a hot topic since government adopted the Biometric Registration Law in July 2014. This controversial law requires citizens to submit fingerprints, a digital photo, and a handwritten signature for the creation of biometric passports, scheduled for release in 2017 and to be included in voter rolls. Citizens, fearing abuse and fraud, are very concerned about how the government will store and protect this data.
Russia to develop secure-communications network for government departments
In order to provide additional security for government communications, the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications announced on March 27th 2015 that it is developing amendments to the Law on Communications to allow for an internal secure-communications network for all government departments. This corresponds with the government cyber-security agenda discussed in October 2014. The Ministry claims this is in response to the international nature of the Internet, which opens the government to new threats, in particular external threats. Cyber security entered the national conversation among mutual accusations of cyber attacks from both Russian and Ukraine during the course of the conflict in the Donbas.
Belarus sees value in increasing public/private cooperation to better protect data
Recognising the importance of protecting data in a global economy, Belarus is taking steps to promote better information-security practices in the country. An important step was the IT-Security Conference, held March 31st 2015 in Minsk. This conference aimed to provide an example of how an open dialogue between business and government could bring about improvements in processes to better protect data and make Belarus more competitive and safer. The Operational and Analysis Center, responsible for protecting classified information in Belarus, noted that a specific state organ would be required to oversee the protection of sensitive personal information. The protection of data, and especially personal data, is becoming more and more sensitive across the world.
Azerbaijan moving towards to limiting Internet access for children
The State Committee for Family, Women, and Children (SCFWC) is publicly supporting a study on issues of protection of children from the harmful influence of the Internet. The main purpose of the study, run by the Institute of Information Technology of Azerbaijan, is to provide scientific justification for the creation of a National Centre for Safe Internet. Vice-Chairman of the SCFWC Sedeget Garakhmanova said that it is important to develop a safe Internet environment for children, especially since “social networks are one of the main factors of suicide among children”.
Russian Safe Internet League submits suggestions for a bill for increased Internet filtration
In a closed meeting on April 1st 2015, the Safe Internet League (SIL) proposed strengthening Internet filtration to Alexander Zharov, Head of Russian Internet and media watchdog Roskomnadzor. SIL presented a bill that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to filter Internet content to protect children from harmful information. This bill would require installation of costly technical equipment to monitor online activities and block access to harmful content. Roskomnadzor and major ISPs do not support this initiative as the equipment is expensive to install and requires constant monitoring of all users’ online activities.