In just a couple of decades, such American IT giants as Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have fundamentally changed the life familiar to many, turning upside down not only ordinary human communication and everyday leisure, but also global economic and political processes. Today, with significant resources and tremendous influence on a billion-dollar audience, these major tech companies are simultaneously becoming weapons and the subject of geopolitical disputes. Moreover, their unprecedented success, which was supposed to become a clear example of the technological superiority of the West, is gradually turning into a real headache not only for the United States, but also for many other countries. What position should Russia take in this situation, which has its own developed IT sector and its own global economic interests, and why it is vitally important for the Russian authorities to curb the raging Western giants as soon as possible – in the material of Lenta.ru.
In order to understand the scale of what is happening, it is enough to realize the fact that by the beginning of 2020 the number of users of Facebook alone reached one third of the world's population, which is 2.5 billion people. After that, the rapidly growing influence of Western IT giants on the world economy and geopolitics becomes not at all surprising, but quite logical and self-evident. “Companies like Google and Facebook are modern and highly effective geopolitical tools. We all understand this, ”said Nikita Danyuk, a political scientist and member of the Public Chamber.
According to Danyuk, all statements by the American authorities about the importance of developing new technologies are due to their desire to retain their dominant role not only in the field of innovative products, but also in the context of geopolitics and geoeconomics. “This helps the United States to promote its terms in the global market, as well as create the most favorable terms for itself, excluding the presence of any competitors. And even if these competitors appear somewhere, then all their attempts are strictly suppressed, "the political scientist emphasized, apparently hinting at the purchase of the American segment of TikTok by the American company Oracle.
After all, just such a deal was imposed on the Chinese IT company ByteDance (owned by TikTok) in September this year by US President Donald Trump. He promised to ban the popular app if any major American company did not buy out his business in the United States by September 15.
As Daniuk assured, today Russia and China pose the greatest threat to the Western monopoly in the IT sphere. “The United States has repeatedly stated that Russia is using modern technologies for military purposes and is trying to interfere in elections. At the same time, no evidence is given, "he was indignant in a conversation with Lenta.ru, adding that China, however, is doing even worse.
The United States is pushing China out of the domestic market and conducting a massive campaign against Chinese IT companies in Europe. So, in early October, US Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Keith Krach urged the European authorities to refuse Chinese Huawei to deploy 5G technology and give preference to Finnish Nokia or Swedish Ericsson. The UK, France and Sweden have already imposed a de facto ban on Huawei's activities, and Italy and Germany also intend to join them in the near future.
At the same time, the leading Internet giants, located mainly in Silicon Valley, despite attempts to resist, function and develop quite calmly in Europe and many other countries, including Russia. “In the same social networks, there is biased moderation.
Thanks to their algorithms, some Russian media are marked with the "state media" badge, or they are simply not issued by a search engine, "Danyuk explained. According to him, this practice applies only to Russian and Chinese media. “This policy of double standards shows that tools such as large IT companies are very often used to sort things out,” he concluded.
A double-edged sword has two points at once, therefore, having become an effective weapon in the geopolitical arena, IT giants suddenly became a threat to the United States itself. First, congressmen accused Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook of having turned into monopolies that Americans "did not know since the days of oil barons and railroad tycoons," and then prosecutors of several states, together with the Trump administration, filed a lawsuit against Alphabet (controlled by Google , YouTube and Android). The company was accused of monopolizing Internet access and ruthlessly destroying all competition.
After that, the US authorities began to actively discuss the possibility of a forced fragmentation of the dominant media companies: the separation of YouTube from Google, and WhatsApp and Instagram from Facebook. By the way, this idea pleased many European states, which have been trying for several years to wage an unsuccessful war against the monopoly of large Internet platforms. In their opinion, IT giants neglect the copyright and personal rights of users, and are also negligent in moderating extremist content on their sites.
Google pays annually to smartphone makers and carriers to promote Android and other services
The EU has already fined Google three times in the amount of more than eight billion euros for promoting the Android operating system through its own search engine, Apple managed to get under investigation for imposing Apple Music on iPhone users, and Facebook and Amazon were punished for using personal data of users to promote their own goods and services. … Nevertheless, neither fines nor any other sanctions had the proper effect on the American monopolists. And this is not surprising: the same Google annually pays $ 30 billion to smartphone manufacturers and operators to promote Android and other services. Therefore, even a fine of 9 billion could not make a proper impression on the western giant.
Firewall is not an option?
In Russia, fines are disproportionately less than European ones. By the way, they can already boast of two large Western companies – Facebook and Twitter, which were fined four million and three thousand rubles each for refusing to provide information on the localization of data of Russian users. However, none of the platforms have yet complied with the court's decision. And it seems that due to the lack of effective levers of pressure from the Russian authorities, they are not going to do this in the foreseeable future.
“In order to effectively defend its interests, our country needs to consistently improve its own legislation, including anti-monopoly legislation. At the same time, special attention should be paid to the observance of Russian laws by global IT companies, ”said Alexander Malkevich, First Deputy Chairman of the Commission for the Development of the Information Society, Mass Media and Mass Communications of the Public Chamber of Russia.
Despite the behavior of Facebook and Twitter, as well as the spread of destructive information on the network, Russia is not going to follow the example of China and launch an analogue of a firewall, protecting the domestic Internet from the global network with a wall. But the space in which the IT giants work in our country must fully and completely obey Russian legislation, continues Danyuk. “If they violate and ignore our laws, or, God forbid, try to use their powers to influence the situation in the country with the help of, for example, fake news, then, of course, it will be necessary to take appropriate measures. Our country should take the position of defending our interests, ”the political scientist emphasized. He considers the position taken by Russia today to be the most correct. The authorities do not shield themselves from the global Internet, do not prohibit the use of the latest tools and platforms, but at the same time create a regulatory framework within which Western companies will be held accountable and guided by Russian law. “These are the right steps, which I support as much as possible. It is a pity that this has not happened before, ”Danyuk complained.
He is also supported by Malkevich, who emphasized that today Russia, which has its own developed IT sector and global economic interests, cannot stay away from the current geopolitical trends. He emphasizes that a significant plus for Russia will be less (in comparison with the European Union) dependence on American IT companies and close partnership with China.
“These circumstances should be effectively used to build our own position in the world arena,” Malkevich said.
What to do?
In his opinion, in the future it is expedient for Russia to cooperate as closely as possible with China, whose experience in creating its own ecosystem on the Internet is extremely important and interesting. “After all, we have everything for this. Own search engines, messengers, email clients, social networks, startups of our own. In the end, we have both people and brains, ”Malkevich was inspired, noting that in order to create a worthy protection from Western players in the Russian IT industry, of course, state protection and support will be needed.
“There should be an adequate replacement for the same YouTube, as well as new projects that will become a good alternative to all these impudent Western media platforms. Moreover, they have become insolent not only in relation to our country, they, in principle, are trying to dictate their will to everyone. And on the eve of next year's Duma campaign, this is a very serious challenge for all of us, ”he warned.
At the same time, Danyuk is confident that Russian users will also massively use Western services until relations between Russia and the United States escalate to the limit. And as soon as this happens, Russians will need high-quality analogs of their usual applications and services. To do this, he believes, now it is necessary to develop a sound domestic product that will not only allow us to resist large Western media, but also help to demonstrate to the whole world that Russia can develop independently, without outsourcing production to foreign specialists.
“In this regard, our country is certainly in the top 5 countries with great potential that just needs to be developed. I really hope that with the help of joint projects with China, we will be able to do this, ”the political scientist admitted, adding that China is an excellent example of how you can build your own secure information space with high quality and painlessly.
“As for the relations between Russia and the Celestial Empire, then we must understand, despite the fact that China is our economic and strategic partner, in the field of digital technologies, joint cooperation can be successful only in those areas where it will be beneficial to both parties,” concluded Danyuk …
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