On July 13, MTUCI University hosted the 9th Youth Interuniversity Forum, Ethical, Cultural and Civilizational Aspects of Working on the Internet, organized by the Russian Association of Networks and Services (RANS) and the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ. The event was held in a hybrid format.
Alan Khubayev, from the Ministry of Digital Technologies of the Russian Federation, noted that various information security issues are presently being discussed at international platforms, from the UN to regional organizations.
“It is important for Russia to represent its national interests when it comes to ICT,” he said. “This requires specialists who understand the technical aspects of the internet and are also versed in international law and international relations in general.”
Building up human resources and attracting young professionals is one of the priorities in the ICT sphere. Representatives of the Coordination Center shared the center’s youth projects aimed at training the needed personnel.
Pavel Pozdnyakov, Chairman of the Center’s Youth Council, pointed out that the Coordination Center has always focused on young people’s progress in the internet environment and pursued an independent youth policy through four distinct projects; the Youth Council is one of them.
“The Youth Council was re-elected this year to include students and young experts from the internet industry. Its first event, organized jointly with the School of International Information Security, took place at the Diplomatic Academy on June 17. Experts from Huawei Russia and Megafon delivered lectures on 5G technology and information security,” Pozdnyakov shared. Mr. Pozdnyakov also invited the participants to the forum, Internet Governance: First forums and regulation models, to be held on July 22 by the Youth Council and the School of International Information Security.
The Study the Internet & Govern It contest is another important project implemented by the Coordination Center and is aimed primarily at schoolchildren and university students. Through participation, students learn more about how the internet works, how digital technologies work, and many other things concerning IT. More than 150,000 people have taken part in the project over the past 10 years.
The next speaker was Ilona Stadnik, the Center’s coordinator of youth projects, who presented the Summer School on Internet Governance project and the Digital Reality discussion club. Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as young teachers attending the Summer School on Internet Governance can learn about the history and principles of the internet, cybersecurity issues and regulation of digital platforms, as well as participants, models and global processes of internet governance. The Second Summer School will take place later in July; registration is open until July 16.
Ilona Stadnik also spoke about the Digital Reality online discussion club, a platform to discuss current internet governance aspects with leading experts in the wake of past events. The meetings are held once or twice a week; everyone is invited to attend.
Among other youth projects discussed at the forum was the TOMIIT hardware and software system (Standard National Module of Studying Internet Technologies). The project offers courses for high school and university students, aimed at studying information technologies, systems and networks developed in Russia. The idea of the project is to teach young people how to use computers with Russian-made processors and software.
This educational module is used to develop software based on domestic operating systems as well as to study the principles and technologies of the internet. The project was initiated by the Coordination Center and implemented by ANO Competence Center for Information and Telecommunication Networks jointly with MTUCI and the Russian Association of Networks and Services (RANS).
Representative of the Competence Center Vyacheslav Malinochkin spoke about important current issues of internet development including universal acceptance. At the early stage of internet development, English was the only language that could be used, as well as Latin letters and a few auxiliary symbols. Later though, the community had the idea to use characters from other national alphabets in addition to Latin ones, which would make it easier for people in other countries to interact with the internet in their own language. However, the idea could not be realized until a special algorithm was developed to translate the symbols from various national scripts into a single standardized system.
However, the possibility of using national script characters also contributed to the spread of phishing sites that use visually similar characters to mislead users. For example, compare apple.com and аррlе.com: the latter is fraudulent, but the difference is not apparent unless you change fonts.
Universal acceptance is one of the main areas of the Coordination Center’s current work. The end goal is to ensure that all valid domain names and email addresses, including in Cyrillic, are equally recognized by all software apps, browsers, email services, etc. The Coordination Center and affiliated organizations’ efforts are designed to train technical specialists whose job and responsibility is to resolve the problems of storing, checking and processing domain names in different languages.