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Russian industry players look to self-regulate Big Data

The Russian companiesí approach is reportedly inspired by the EUís Big Data Value Association (BDVA).

Apr 17, 2017
Russiaís largest IT and telecom companies are considering the creation of a new self-regulatory organization to oversee the Big Data sector, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported Monday.

Among these players are the national telecom operator Rostelecom, mobile operators MegaFon, MTS and Vimpelcom, and domestic Internet leaders Mail.Ru Group and Yandex.

Mail.ru Group believes that that the self-regulatory model "will allow market participants to find an optimal balance between responsible regulation and the governmentís restrictive legislative initiatives."

The Russian companiesí approach is reportedly inspired by the EUís Big Data Value Association (BDVA).

Market players are concerned about recent indications that the government might be willing to over-regulate big data usage.

"In an attempt to please the authorities, some experts even suggest that all user data be handed over to the state," an unnamed source close to these companies told Kommersant.

This may hamper the development of a digital economy in Russia and discourage investors, the source added.

Personal data protection or state control?

These fears echo recent statements by top officials. Last year Alexander Zharov, who heads Russiaís telecom and Internet regulator Roskomnadzor, suggested that Russia create a "national big data operator" in the form of a public-private partnership to control how user data was being used.

"The government, businesses and society must determine the rules for big data use. Big data means big opportunities, but also big risks at all levels. So there should be a law about big data," Zharov stated.

Zharov stressed that several types of data, though not personal, could still be used to identify users. He cited an experiment in which "a global social network" analyzed anonymized user data to identify the users.

On his side, Presidential Aide Igor Shchegolev believes that at the moment, even the simplest app developers may gain unrestricted access to user data without user permission Ė a situation to which new legislation should put an end.

Shchegolyev also said last year that it is essential to develop algorithms to define which types of data can be collected as well as the ways they can be collected and transferred to companies with user consent.

Last month, Shchegolyev said that Big Data regulation plans could be formulated in the course of this year.