Central regions | Technology & innovation | Finance, business
National telco drafts Internet tech program for government
6 Feb '20
Rostelecom, the national telecom operator, is reported to have submitted to the Ministry of Digital Development a draft program that would guide the Russian government in developing domestic Internet technologies including speech recognition, content recommender systems, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), mobile OS, instant messengers, and browsers. (Some of these products have already been developed by private companies including Yandex and Rambler Group.)
The document also provides for the development of a state-owned digital platform for tracking Internet user activity (“digital footprint”).
The draft program envisions $831.5m in budget and $3.3bn in private investment.
The document says that when imported, the above technologies can “significantly affect economic development and social stability” and may be used for “manipulating public opinion or spreading fake news or negative influence from foreign organizations”—meaning that the Russian government and Russia’s largest companies should provide the population with services that are second to no foreign analogs.
Some Internet industry players have argued that developing those technologies should not require state involvement while their development under state supervision may enhance authorities’ ability to gather and analyze personal data.
Some experts believe that, instead of developing specific products, state support should focus on facilitating investment in new technologies through venture funds with state participation.