Fight code: the policy of American IT giants can strengthen Runet’s sovereignty

In Russia, the development of national Internet services and the transition of government agencies to domestic software may accelerate.

This is necessary to weaken the influence of the American IT giants on our country, according to experts interviewed by Izvestia. The topic became especially relevant after the blocking of Donald Trump’s accounts by Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. The fact that the world is looking for alternatives to their products partly confirms the explosive growth in the number of Telegram users, experts say.


On the day of the capture of the Capitol, within a few hours, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter blocked Donald Trump’s accounts. Following the policy, access to Snapchat, Twitch, Discord, Pinterest and YouTube services was closed. The actions of the IT giants were not limited to blocking accounts. He was followed by the pursuit of Parler, a social network that was popular with Trump supporters. First, the smartphone client was removed from Google Play and the App Store, and then Amazon Web Services disconnected Parler from its servers and the app stopped working.

American IT giants have strongly discredited themselves, and Russia, like other countries, will definitely react to this, says Boris Sharov, CEO of Doctor Web.

“This is quite a clear and unambiguous signal to all countries,” the expert said.

In the event of a political crisis, the resources and capabilities of Internet companies may end up on one of the parties and will be used as a tool to put pressure on those who disagree, explained Boris Sharov.

GAFA (the big four – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) and similar “IT-monsters” now represent not a potential, but a real threat to any state, believes Valentin Makarov, president of the non-profit partnership of software developers “Russoft”.

– These sites cannot be perceived as reliable, or as neutral, or as “good”. They act exclusively in their own interests, and not in our interests. Better not to rely on them completely and have a fallback, ”added Ivan Panchenko, co-founder of Postgres Professional.

Our code

Senator Alexei Pushkov expressed a similar opinion on his Telegram channel. He not only emphasized the fact of discrediting American Internet services, but also called for the early creation of domestic alternatives to Google and Apple products. What happened in the United States should accelerate the development of at least domestic social networks and instant messengers, said Anton Gorelkin, a member of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications.

– If Americans do this with their own, then what can they do with foreign resources that will use their cloud servers, or foreign users in their social networks? The Russian government is introducing new measures to stimulate the domestic IT industry, and what is happening now proves the correctness of such decisions, the deputy said.

The first noticeable consequence will be active lobbying of domestic analogues of American programs and Internet services, Valentin Makarov expects. Then global projects of open international platforms based on system software (open source software), of which the operating system is a part, should appear, he said. This will weaken the IT industry’s dependence on iOS, Android and Windows, the expert explained.

– The way out is to come to an agreement with a number of countries (together with a critical mass of the market) and use public-private partnerships to create open source projects (based on open source software) such as GAFA, where there will be no owner who will inevitably try to use politics to gain the position of a monopolist, – said Valentin Makarov.

First time

The task of the authorities is to establish rules on the Internet services market and control their implementation, says Anton Gorelkin. It seems that the solution may be to create completely state social networks and messengers, which will be controlled by government structures. But most of the interviewed experts exclude such a scenario.

– There have not yet been successful examples of government projects in the segment of mass communications (media, blog platforms, messengers). And not only in Russia. And, probably, not just like that. Standing apart here is China, which limited its internal media ecosystem from other countries back in the nineties. Therefore, he cannot be an example, – says Alexander Malyshev, managing partner of CommuniGate Systems Russia.

But the emergence of state communication services in the long term is not excluded, says Ivan Panchenko.

These services are unlikely to be able to compete with the products of private companies, but at least they will occupy niches in which there is a demand for secure email clients and instant messengers, the expert suggested.

– Providing postal services has long been considered the responsibility of the state. But conservative postal services have overslept the emergence of email, instant messengers and other forms of communication and are now ousted from the field around the world. They will return over time, as there is a demand from both government and business and citizens for reliable, secure and legally valid mail, says the co-founder of Postgres Professional.

The first customers of such products should be officials, experts say. Perhaps the government will develop recommendations that will limit the use of foreign services by employees of state organizations, hopes Vladimir Zykov, president of the Association of Professional Users of Social Networks and Messengers (APPSIM).

“It is necessary to exclude any use of American platforms during the exchange of information at the state level,” the expert believes.

Alexander Malyshev agrees with him. In connection with recent events, this problem will be among the first to be solved, he suggests.

– Yesterday the state had other priorities and it was not paid due attention to. And today the process of transferring state IT systems to Russian-made infrastructure and software is in full swing. The latest government initiatives in the development of its own IT industry seem reasonable and timely, the expert said.

Europe in trend

Earlier, the European Commission has already announced its intention to prohibit IT giants from making key decisions on blocking politicians unilaterally. And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defiantly abandoned WhatsApp and opened accounts in Bip and Telegram messengers.

By the way, soon after the blocking of Parler, Pavel Durov’s messenger became the second most downloaded application in the United States. On Tuesday, Telegram said that in the past 72 hours, the service has received 25 million new users. In total, the monthly audience of the messenger has grown to 500 million people. The explosive growth of Telegram is a consequence of the intensive search for alternatives to the products of GAFA and other “potentially dangerous monsters”, Valentin Makarov believes.


Karice Dabule

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