This week, Russia wanted to block LinkedIn and announced the deadline for digital TV transition; Azerbaijan worked on the strategy for intellectual property protection; Kazakh Transtelecom received $12 million loan; Kyrgyzstan got another website tracking politicians’ promises; Dagestan instructed journalists to share their social media profiles; Armenian expert described his upcoming book on hacker movement in the country.
1. Russia will completely switch to digital television by 2018. The government program on digital TV transition began seven years ago, and initially planned to end in 2015. Minister of communications Nikolay Nikiforov said that it was delayed due to budget reduction. In July 2015, 10% of Russians watched digital TV. The digital broadcasting has been available on all territory of the country.
2. Azerbaijan’s State committee on standardization, metrology, and patents is finalizing the national strategy on intellectual property rights protection. The authors say it will correspond to modern realities and focus on preventing production and distribution of counterfeit products.
DR comments: Azerbaijan is infamous for software piracy and license misuse, ranking 109th among 128 countries on the International Property Index 2016. Although the idea behind the official document promulgating intellectual property rights protection is welcomed, the mechanisms for its implementation remain unclear.
3. On Oct. 26 Moscow’s Tagansky court approved Russian communications regulator’s, Roskomnadzor, motion to limit access to LinkedIn in Russia. The business networking site is believed to have violated Russia’s personal data law, which require companies to store clients’ personal data on servers located on Russian territory. The law, referred to as the “On Personal Data” regulation, came into force in 2014. It notionally forces companies to store the personal data of the Russian citizens within Russia, but the country has so far taken little or no action to enforce it against U.S.-based social media networks, which don’t operate local data storage.
4. Kyrgyz non-governmental organization “Civil Platform” launched a new website Deputat.kg http://deputat.kg/ to monitor the extent to which politicians and public officials keep their promises. A bilingual service collects all public speeches and statements of the members of parliament and local authorities, as well as opinions of political analysts and community leaders. Another website with similar mission called Politmer.kg http://politmer.kg/kg/ has been working since 2011.
5. The Ministry of Press and Information of Dagestan, a federal republic in the North Caucasus region of Russia, instructed its state media employees to provide information about their social networks accounts. This collection of data is being carried out “in order to … monitor social networks [that are subordinate] to the ministry.” In June 2016, the Russian State Duma adopted amendments requiring state and municipal employees are required to inform the administration of any social networking accounts that they have.
6. Leading Kazakh telecom company Transtelecom received $12 million loan from Eurasian Development Bank. This money will be spent on providing internet access to Kazakh railways and some other infrastructure projects, such as IT coverage for the Expo-2017 sites in Astana. DR comments: The continuing cooperation between EDB and Transtelecom since 2013 is an important element of the modernization of Kazakh railways, an integral component of the emerging ‘new Silk Road’ between Asia and Europe.
7. Samvel Martirosyan, Armenian infosecurity expert, announced that he is working on a book about the hacker movement in Armenia. The membership of two main hacker groups – Armenian Cyber Army and Monte Melkonian Cyber Group – predominantly consists of young people studying in schools and universities. Unlike some countries, such as Azerbaijan or Russia, where hacker is often a job offered by governments seeking to protect national security, Armenian hacker groups can be characterized as ‘partisan’. For a full interview in Russian, read here.