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AssessmentsOct 13, 2021 | 21:20 GMT
The logos of the U.S.-based social media platforms WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook (left to right) are seen on a smartphone screen in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 5, 2021.
What’s Next for Russia’s Crackdown on Big Tech?
With parliamentary elections now behind it, the Russian government will maintain its pressure campaign against Big Tech, threatening companies to coerce them into compliance while diluting their influence with domestic analogs in the coming years. Last year, the Kremlin launched a crackdown on political dissent to prevent the September elections for the Russian State Duma from resulting in opposition victories or mass protests. As the crackdown sought to narrow permitted political speech and information accessible in Russia, one of the focal points of the campaign became U.S.-based “Big Tech” companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, as well as other smaller tech companies. Russian independent media and political activists rely on these platforms to spread their message and demand more democratic governance in Russia, which the regime views as a threat. Moscow envisions sufficiently pliable domestic entities -- such as Russia’s large tech conglomerates like Yandex, VK, and Sber
SITUATION REPORTSep 2, 2021 | 18:18 GMT
Russia: Apple and Google Receive Another Warning About Keeping Navalny App in Stores
Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has sent letters for the second time in less than a month to Apple and Google demanding the removal of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s mobile app from their marketplaces, this time saying any refusal to do so will be regarded as interference in Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections, Tass reported Sept. 2. 
On GeopoliticsSep 2, 2021 | 16:56 GMT
Cyber Diplomacy Arrives at Another Fork in the Road
My colleague recently wrote that ransomware has so far undoubtedly been the “defining cyber threat” of 2021. I agree with that assessment, given the onslaught of major ransomware attacks we’ve seen this year. But it’s also important to note that there’s been meaningful progress in U.N. negotiations on cyberspace -- much to the surprise of many observers, including myself.  In March, the Russia-backed Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) reached a cybersecurity agreement reaffirming 11 non-binding norms for state-sponsored cyber activity. And then two months later, the U.S.-backed Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) followed suit. That said, fundamental differences in opinions and priorities between countries remain on what kind of cyber activities should be regulated and how. The diplomatic path forward for future rounds of international negotiations is also unclear, with the United States wanting to enforce current U.N. agreements as Russia proposes more. Thus, despite the progress seen so far this year, the
GuidanceJul 8, 2021 | 19:57 GMT
Italy’s top foreign policy officials attend a G-20 joint session on June 29, 2021.
Competing G-20 Interests Risk Hindering a Global Tax Deal
Competing interests between the European Union, the United States and emerging economies could prevent Group of 20 (G-20) countries from reaching a deal on a global tax overhaul. This would deprive governments of much-needed resources to cope with the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic by discouraging corporate tax shifting. G-20 finance ministers will meet in Venice on July 9-10 to discuss a draft global tax deal agreed to in principle by 130 countries on July 1, with the aim of completing it by the G-20 summit in October. At stake is up to about $200 billion a year in potential lost tax revenues from not passing the deal at a time when governments worldwide are facing large post-pandemic budget deficits and rising public debt, as well as renewed tensions caused by mainly U.S.-based multinational tech companies not paying taxes on digital services sold abroad.