Институт развития информационного общества

Availability of government data in Russia: Yuri Hohlov spoke at a commission meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

On November 30, an enlarged meeting of the RSPP Commission on the Media Industry and Entrepreneurship in the Information Sphere took place. The meeting discussed the availability of government data in Russia. An expert commentary at the meeting was made by Yuri Hohlov, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of the Information Society, project leader of the NTI Competence Center for Big Data, Moscow State University, head of the Data Subcommittee (PC 02) of the Technical Committee for Standardization “Artificial Intelligence” (TC 164).

The meeting was held online in an expanded format, according to the RSPP website. Presentations were made by:

  • Andrey Nikulichev, advisor to the director of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “Center for Expertise and Coordination of Informatization” of the Ministry of Digital Development of the Russian Federation;
  • Anatoly Dyubanov, director of the Digital economy development department of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation;
  • Ivan Begtin, head of the Association of Data Market Participants;
  • Anna Serebryanikova, president of the Big Data Association;
  • Alexey Sidoryuk, development director of the Autonomous Non-commercial Organization “Digital Economy”.

In addition to Yuri Hohlov, expert comments were made by:

  • Sergey Sergienko, advisor to the Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation;
  • Vera Adaeva, director of the Center for partnership and network development of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

Opening the meeting, the Chairman of the RSPP Commission, the head of the Interfax Group, Mikhail Komissar, stressed that “without increasing the attention of government agencies to the quality of disclosed data and ensuring high speed of access to them, the creation of new and development of existing digital services will be extremely slow.”

On behalf of Alexander Shokhin, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Anna Lyatsu, his press secretary and managing director of the RSPP Department of corporate and external communications, addressed the meeting participants. “In the field of working with information, the RSPP is ready for close collaboration and dialogue with both government bodies and all interested market participants in order to develop mutually acceptable approaches and solutions that will benefit the country’s economy,” Anna Lyatsu emphasized.

Andrey Nikulichev presented to the meeting participants a draft concept developed by the Ministry of Digital Development, according to which it is planned to create state operators of data sets. These operators will have to be determined by the Government of the Russian Federation and Russian regions. “Given the high cost of creating datasets, it is planned to form them on a declarative basis,” said Andrey Nikulichev. “We must clearly know who needs these datasets, how they will be used, and what socio-economic impact they will bring.” At the same time, it is planned to organize a single window for accepting applications. The composition and data sources for the sets will be determined by the operators themselves.

Anatoly Dyubanov devoted his report to the harmonization of government data, increasing their availability and quality. When using government data, today we observe their redundancy, duplication, irrelevance, and in this area there are organizational, technical and methodological barriers. The speaker presented proposals for changes, including the creation of a coordinating body represented by the Ministry of Economic Development, a single window and an open API of government agencies, as well as the modernization of the open data portal. As a proposed model for organizing access to data, the main provisions of the draft law on the National Data Management System were described, which should allow not only to obtain the data necessary for business (including for a fee), but also to create effective mechanisms for the exchange of data between the state and the commercial sector.

Based on an analysis of international experience in organizing access to government data and the exchange of non-government data, Ivan Begtin pointed out the importance of restarting data openness initiatives for Russia, creating a state API portal, attracting businesses to improve the quality of government data, and state support for initiatives on data exchange, creation of the institution of private accredited data operators.

Anna Serebryanikova proposed to ensure paid demand for accelerated access to data from state information systems to provide services to citizens. “We need a huge amount of data. And this is not necessary for internal systems to work, something to improve within companies, but in order to provide services seamlessly to citizens and produce products based on the updated state data that state information systems have,” said Anna Serebryanikova. We can talk about services such as lending, negotiating transactions, issuing collateral, improving the quality of forecasting traffic jams, etc.

Commenting on the speakers’ speeches, Yuri Hohlov voiced three theses. First, it is important for Russia to develop a national data strategy that takes into account the interests of all stakeholders – government, business, civil society and academia.

Secondly, in order to respond to the needs of citizens for most situations in life, it is necessary to process data from all levels of the public administration system – not only federal, but also regional and municipal. Thus, we are talking not just about large, but about super-large amounts of data. They can be collected and processed only using distributed big data architectures, which will have different holders (government, business, non-profit sector, citizens themselves).

The expert also added that many of the traditional data quality criteria are outdated and do not work, as they were formed under the conditions of a shortage of machine-readable data in the past. Today, when there is not a shortage, but an excess of data, the quality of data sets should be defined in a completely different way. For example, when operating on distributed large data sets, it is impossible to ensure the big data safety by trying to organize a closed loop. This is why international standards bodies are now developing new data quality standards for big data analytics and machine learning. On behalf of Russia, the Data Subcommittee, headed by Yuri Hohlov and supported by the NTI Competence Center on Big Data at Moscow State University, participates in this activity.

Thirdly, the expert urged to formulate a policy of working with industrial (industrial) data in Russia. “Let’s be honest: we have lost the competition for large amounts of personal data to the United States and China. Europe also lost, but now, in the pan-European data strategy, it has set a goal not to lose at least the global industrial data market. In the same way, we may not be late,” Yuri Hohlov thinks.

Source: RSPP, NTI Competence Center for Big Data of MSU