This week,

  1. The date of “Digital Kazakhstan” presentation has been announced;
  2. The implementation plan for the Russian “Digital Economy” forthcoming;
  3. Telecom updates in Eurasia;
  4. Censorship in the Russian Internet? Putin is against;
  5. Kazakhstan will create interbank biometric identification service;
  6. Smart management of power networks in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan;
  7. Tajikistan established the Cyberpolice.

1. Kazakhstan Will Become Digital This September.

Digital Economy | Kazakhstan

The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting with the Minister of Information and Communications Dauren Abaev on August 23, 2017, where they discussed the development of the “Digital Kazakhstan” program. After the meeting, the Minister informed that the program will be presented to the public on September 13. The program consists of four main dimensions: infrastructure development, improvement of human capital, digitalization of economy, and improvement of the e-governance systems and public services.

In the program’s framework, a Single Archive of Digital Documents will be created, as notified the Head of the Department of Archival Affairs and Documentation of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Aliya Mustafina. The Archive will be integrated with the information systems of state structures and will enable not just the storage of digital documents but also the online access to archive information to any user.

The main goal of the government program “Digital Kazakhstan” is the improvement of the competitiveness of Kazakhstan’s economy and quality of life through the progressive development of the digital ecosystem.

DR Comments: Earlier, we informed about intentions to coordinate the digital agendas of the Eurasian Union (EAEU) states. In recent months, experts have been working on various common Eurasian digital projects and are taking steps to harmonize national programs of digital economies. This week the plan to create a unified network for technology transfer was announced. It will unite the autonomous national networks of the Commonwealth countries in one system. The Head of the Kazakh Government Bakytzhan Sagintayev said that in total the EAEU countries are discussing more than 130 000 projects in 12 spheres, including the ICT.

2. New Details About the “Digital Economy” of Russia.

Digital Economy | Russia

The Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov said that a detailed implementation plan for “Digital Economy program will be ready by October 30. “We have defined the management scheme for this program, published a government decree, and by October 30 we must prepare a concrete plan of measures,” – said Nikiforov. He also added that a special fund to finance the Digital Economy may be created. This opportunity was also previously voiced by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Also, this week the government instructed three agencies – the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications in cooperation with Vnesheconombank to develop a mechanism and assess the amount of funding required for the program. The Prime-Minister Dmitry Medvedev stressed that financing the program is not the only important issue – the elimination of administrative barriers for the program implementation is also in the scope. He is convinced that the state should provide financial and legislative support for business in order to facilitate the participation of the private sector in the program implementation.

DR Comments: The first results of the program implementation will be published in the coming months. We will continue monitoring and analysis of the processes of digitalization of the Eurasian economies. Should you have any questions about Digital Economy, contact DR Analytica.

3. Telecom News in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova.

Digital Access | Russia | Kyrgyzstan | Moldova

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) revised the deadline for the cancellation of domestic roaming at the request of four leading Russian mobile operators. According to the new FAS decision, all domestic tariffs for mobile communication services should be unified by December 15, 2017. Differences in tariffs for mobile communication in different regions of the country violate the “Law on the Protection of Competition”. In addition, the existence of such differences has no economic or technological justification.

The cancellation of roaming within Russia will also directly affect the possible cancellation of roaming in the EAEU countries. The Deputy Head of the FAS, Anatoly Golomolzin believes that this can happen in 2018-2019 but will depend on how Russia will solve the problem inside the country.

After three unsuccessful auctions for the sale of mobile operator Megacom, the government of Kyrgyzstan decided to sell it directly. This was reported by the Head of the Fund for State Property Management Bolsunbek Kazakov. Applications will be accepted until September 25. The company’s value is estimated at USD $195.7 million.

Meanwhile, the Telecoms of Moldova are concerned about the possible introduction of a new 1.5% tax on their monthly income in 2018. This can cause a significant increase in tariffs for communication, the Internet, and TV.

4. What Does the Russian Leadership Want on the Internet?

Information Security | Russia

One of the “surprises” of the final version of the “Digital Economy” program was the intention to create a National System for Internet Traffic Filtering (NASFIT) by 2020, justified by protecting children and adolescents from negative content online. However, on August 20, 2017, President Vladimir Putin said, that in his opinion it is better to exclude the state’s influence on filtering Internet content, and it is necessary that the community itself will develop a system of moral and ethical principles of interaction on the Web. He also noted that censorship of the information in the modern world is a difficult undertaking.

These statements by the president are very different from the policies pursued by the Russian government and usually are being criticized by experts. In the meantime, Roscomnadzor continues to implement prohibitive laws regarding anonymizers and VPN-services. The regulator published requirements to the access to registries of prohibited sites. According to the document, it is planned to create a Federal State Information System of the restricted information resources and telecommunication networks, as well as requirements for the organization of such a system.

DR Comments: The law on banning anonymizers and VPN-services will come into force on November 1, 2017. According to the law, Roscomnadzor will also monitor and restrict access to web resources which contain information on how to avoid online blocking.

5. Interbank System of Biometric Identification in Kazakhstan.

Information Security | Kazakhstan

The system of biometric identification is created in order to identify customers, check credit applications, and also to fight frauds. The new service will be available to Kazakh financial institutions by the end of the year, as they will be provided with software for recognizing individuals. As a result, banks will be provided with a photo sharing service and a biometric image comparison service for identification and verification of individuals.

DR Comments:  Earlier, we informed on plans to create a similar biometric identification system in Russia.

6. Azerbaijan Launched a Smart Power Grid Management. Uzbekistan Is Next.

E-Governance | Azerbaijan | Uzbekistan

Azerbaijan launched the first automatic control and monitoring system of the Shamkir city electric grid. The system allows controlling of uninterrupted power supply and monitoring of flow rates in real time. It will also automatically receive the data from electric meters.

Similar innovation is also expected in Uzbekistan. The Government of Uzbekistan has selected contractors to implement automated systems for monitoring and accounting for electricity and gas. Those contractors are such companies as the French Sagemcom, the Swiss Landis & Gyr, and the German Elster Metronica. The total estimated cost of the projects is almost USD $2 billion.

7. Cyberpolice of Tajikistan Against Extremism on the Internet.

Information Security | Tajikistan

The units of Cyberpolice were created within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan. The authorities said the main task of Cyberpolice is to identify the facts of extremism on the Internet and prevent the online recruitment of terrorists.

According to the information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, since January 1 more than 130 people who have been in contact with terrorist organizations online were identified. Also, more than 70 websites containing extremist materials and conducting propaganda of terrorism were discovered and blocked.

DR Comments: The increase in cybercrime, as well as the growth of online extremism, have forced many countries to create Cyberpolice units. If you have any questions about cybersecurity in Eurasia, contact DR Analytica.

This digest is also available in Russian