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English Digest
About us: Webplanet.ru is the leading Russian online daily on Internet business, life and development. You can use our RSS-feed. For contact: info [doggie] webplanet.ru
translator | 25.06.2010 18:17

Ukrainian users of Internet has been vigorously discussing the new Tax Code draft, which has recently been proposed by the Ukrainian Government, and adopted by Verkhovna Rada in the first reading. Ukrainian freelance IT-specialists are morally prepared to flee to Georgia.

Experts have criticized the Tax Code in many ways. The most unpleasant, for small companies involved in IT-sphere, is a list of activities not covered by simplified taxation. The list has got 21 points, among them are wholesale and retail trade via the Internet, Internet providers services and information activities.

Some experts predict, that the measure would lead to entrepreneurs to withdraw into the shadows, and some to shut down or sell their business.

One of project online discussions has already put an idea to flee to Georgia, where they have had a draft law that provides minimum taxes for foreign companies involved in IT. As an alternative to Georgia, Ukrainian IT-specialists can be offered Russian "Silicon valley" in Skolkovo.

President Dmitry Medvedev wants to make Russia a second home for non-Russians. "Russia should become an attractive destination for people from all over the world, willing to accomplish their particular dreams, searching for better opportunities for success and self-realization, that Russia will be able to give everyone, willing to accept this challenge and to love Russia as a new or second home. Those are our modernization goals", he said last Friday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

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translator | 23.06.2010 20:21

The President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev is going met with the executive director of Google, Eric Schmidt, during his visit to the United States. Medvedev is going to spend a day in the Silicon Valley before meeting with the US president Barack Obama which is scheduled for June 24.

According to presidential aide, Arkady Dvorkovich, this choice is not accidental, and corresponds to the priorities set by the President earlier. "All the experts call the Silicon Valley and Stanford University, the most successful centers of innovation and high-tech researches. The President decided that he must see it with his own eyes," - said the presidential aide.

Medvedev also plans to meet with the head of Google, Eric Schmidt, who has already agreed to join the Foundation Board of “Skolkovo”. We wonder how hard it would be for Medvedev to please Google CEO: three years ago Google wanted to buy Russian advertising company "Begun" but the Russian government blocked the deal for anti-monopoly reasons.

Deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Vladislav Surkov, said that Skolkovo will resemble Bangalore (India) rather than the Silicon Valley, for they focuses not only on information technologies in Bangalore.

A conversation with Cisco Systems top management is also on the President’s agenda. The company plans to "significantly" increase investments in the Russian economy.

Aleksey Andreev, the editor-in-chief of Webplanet.Ru, in his inteview for "Russia Today" noted that Russia boasts massive intellectual resources which could be interesting for US partners:

“Russia can help the US in terms of technologists, because it still has a pretty good mathematical school and technological school,” Andreev told RT. “And after the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russian specialists lost their jobs, some went abroad, others turned to criminal activities. Everyone knows that the best viruses are written in Russia.”

Watch the interview with Aleksey Andreev (in English)

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translator | 23.06.2010 12:49

Last week Ministrer of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation Igor Schegolev said the Ministry will "work on" the idea to ban access to the Internet for children under 10 years of age.

This idea was proposed by Alexey Andreyev, editor-in-chief of Webplanet.Ru, at IT-conference "Safe Tomorrow of RuNet” opened on June 17, in Uryupinsk. The event was hosted by Kaspersky Lab. Among the attendants were the Internet security experts, representatives of the Federal government and the some prominent Russian bloggers.

At first, Igor Schegolev said the telecom companies already have the solution for the children safety on the Web - providers can filter the content with "white list" system of good sites updated with parents' feedback. But Alexey Andreyev argued this solution won't work well because the main goal of telecom companies is to get more customers (and children among them). At the same time, there is lots of research showing Internet gives more distraction than knowledge to youngsters. So in would be better to ban the Web access for children under 10 years of age - the same way kids are banned from driving cars untill the proper age.

The Minister of Telecom supported the idea, saying that "the suggestion is good, and we should consider it". The educational function of the Internet, according to Schegolev, is not as great as it seems at first sight. The Minister believes that the World Wide Web contains a lot of threats to children.

According to the last year research, which was conducted in Ukraine, only 11 percent of parents monitor the online activity of their offspring. As a result, 14 percent of children send messages to pay bonuses in online games, without thinking about the cost; 22 percent regularly surf adult websites, while 28 percent easily agree to send photos to network friends; 17 percent of Ukrainian children easily give out information about their families, including home address and work schedule of parents; 11 percent try to get drugs on the web.

Experience shows that children's access restriction to some websites is a technically feasible task. Let’s say, a British provider Tibboh has recently been offering a wireless 3G-access with the ability to block certain content, depending on the user’s age. For instance, it will not let children under 12 years of age visit some social networks.

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translator | 21.06.2010 19:58

Search Engines will be released from liability for the content they find for users, reports RBC Daily. The decision was made at a Minkomsvyazi work group meeting, which is preparing the draft law "On amendments to some legislative acts regarding regulation of relations when using information and telecommunication network of the Internet."

Under the proposed amendments, search engines activities will not be considered a violation of intellectual property rights, if, for instance, the search results will show users links to counterfeit content (whether it is music, video, books and so on). State Duma still must approve the amendments.

Search engines have always faced copyright holders claims, simply because they did their job. For example, Delta company sued Yandex search engine claiming to refute defaming the honor of the company information that appeared in search results (it is referred to feedbacks, that popped up in the first page).

In March 2010 the Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the third claim of Delta stating that the search engine is not responsible for the content that users post, for it creates no information, but opportunities to find it.

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translator | 18.06.2010 23:29

Having had unpleasant experience of long negotiations and not very profitable cooperation with Apple, Russian "Big 3" operators are going to create their own Tablet PCs. MTS is already negotiating with Taiwanese factories, reports Kommersant.

The iPad prototype, with MTS brand on it, will be presented at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on June 19. It is equipped with a 7-inch touch screen (about 17.78 cm), supports 3G and Wi-Fi wireless protocols, and will be sold with preinstalled navigation services of the operator. The tablets will not be able to work with other operator SIM-cards.

For now, the mobile operator is negotiating with producers, including Foxconn, where Apple goods are being produced. The first set of gadgets will be on sale as early as the fourth quarter of 2010, and amount to 10 thousand copies. It is planned to sell 100 thousand copies for the first year. Eldar Murtazin, an expert, believes that the real sales figures will be much smaller, and the operator will sell no more than 15,000 devices for the first year. In his opinion, the wholesale price of gadgets will exceed 10 thousand rubles ($ 335).

Other “Big 3” operators, Megafon and Vimpelcom, are also thinking about selling tablets under their own brands.

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translator | 18.06.2010 09:53

Yesterday's meeting of the United Russia (Yedinaya Rossiya) General Council was held under the slogan of modernization. During the meeting, there was a call to use the Internet more, in order to consolidate the political leadership.

"The party has traditionally had great opportunities and experience in traditional sphere of political communication (...). However, this means that opposition will always aim to overplay United Russia by the means of other political communication channels, the Internet and “street politics” are among essential ones. Thereby, United Russia should intensify its work in new political environments, especially on the Internet, as the most modern mean of communication with the most active voters and public opinion producers," - said secretary of the General Council presidium, Vyacheslav Volodin.

Another top manager of United Russia - Dmitry Polikanov, told in the interview, that the goal of "modernization" is not only about real technological improvements of the party, but also about changing the style of its external attributes.

"Change of style has an impacts on the way of thinking as well. It is one thing - to make a report, reading paper, the other – to make it, holding iPad. These are two different people with different philosophies. Therefore, the form must also be changed, in order to have content effect,” he said.

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translator | 18.06.2010 09:51

6 billion rubles ($200 million) will be invested in the development of GLONASS navigation system, reports Comnews, with reference to the statement of General Director of Navigation and Information Systems (NIS), Alexander Gurko. The money will be spent on the creation of technologies and business solutions based on the system.

Besides, within the Technology Partnership, INS is to invest in the acquisition of software companies in Russia and abroad. First, the company will create a GLONASS commercial market in Russia, and then come into the world market - in the CIS, India, Middle East, South and Central America.

"Nowadays, there is a great demand for the navigation system, an alternative system to GPS, as the second global navigation system. GLONASS is currently the only system of this sort", said Gurko.

6 billion rubles will be collected from own company funds, borrowed funds and enterprise shareholders' money. We remind that NIS was founded by JSFC “Sistema” and “Rostelecom” in 2009, so in some ways, we are talking about public money.

Currently, navigation market in Russia (it is mostly GPS) reaches a total of 550 million dollars. By 2016 it is planned to bring the market up to the mark of $ 1 billion, at GLONASS’ cost. And in 2012-2013 there will be launched an emergency response program, called "GLONASS Era”.

Meanwhile, the GLONASS satellites continue to fail. Today, GLONASS system has 23 satellites. Only 19 of them function, 2 are immobilized, and 2 are temporarily withdrawn from the system.

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translator | 17.06.2010 01:52

An experiment of creating a science-fiction novel about people travelling to Mars, began on June 15, 2010. This project is a kind of contribution of Russian science fiction writers in support of the “Mars-500” experiment, which has a full simulation of a long flight to the Red Planet.

12 science fiction writers from Russia, Ukraine and Israel will take part in the project “The Road to Mars”. They are: Pavel Amnuel, Jaroslav Verov, Eugeny Garkushev, Alexander Gromov, Alexander Zorich, Alexey Kalugin, Dmitry Kolodan Sergei Lukyanenko, Igor Minakov, Anton Pervushin, Nikolai Romanov and Sergei Slusarenko. Vladimir Bondar will provide illustrations for the project.

The first fragment of the novel was published the day the project began. Its author is Pervushin. It is assumed that the writers will publish one fragment every week for 16 months, and nobody knows what kind of novel it will be at the end of this period.

Such a long period of time is not a coincidence: writers will spend as long time on their novel, as the last stage of “Mars-500” project lasts. Within the project, the crew of 6 people (three Russians, French, Italian and Chinese) will spend 520 days in isolated from the outside world space, which is in a special medical and technical complex.

This complex is designed for “simulating the conditions of the crew life and work as close as possible to those of real space objects”.

The Institute of Biomedical Problems RAS, organizer of the experiment, finds that in terms of development, Mars is the most promising planet of those that are in the solar system. The fact that Google Earth now has maps of the Martian surface proves, that the international community interest to the planet has increased in recent years.

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translator | 16.06.2010 23:02

Russian Ministry of Education and Science ordered schools and other secondary education institutions to move from handwritten to machine filled certificates. By the end of the academic year school authorities found out that they needed to buy the special software from the only recommended supplier, and that they would have to several times overpay for urgency.

Last year, Ministry of Education and Science published a draft order on the transition to machine filled certificates, with possible "use of the software module” (the ministry did not mention a specific producer or program). The order has not been approved yet, but the inferior authorities begun sending a notice, saying that “ARM-register” company has already developed and sells special software, and schools should buy it from the “ARM-register” online store. The officials did not bother themselves to inform of the free alternatives of “ARM-register” products.

The cheapest version of the program in “ARM-register” online store now costs 1,000 rubles (at that price you can get distribution by e-mail, but not all schools have the Internet access). Delivery via post will cost 2,400 rubles (and 20 days standby). The most recent proposal of the supplier was a "rush order" of the program for Moscow and Moscow region educational institutions, with self-export from the warehouse, "not to wait for delivery”, at the price of 4,800 rubles.

In brief, 2008-2009 scandals, involving modernization of education ("School Web", "School Linux", "School Portal"), could be taken for beginner mistakes. By 2010, the modernization of all Russian bureaucracy branches has reached such a scale, that it can simply ruin a skeleton of the Russian state.

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translator | 16.06.2010 10:15

Today the State Duma will consider on the second reading the draft law "On organization of public and municipal services." The new version of the document has a number of sections, specifying state, municipal and other services to the Russians with a universal electronic card.

In 2012-1013 these cards will be issued to citizens upon the application, and in 2014 without it. Finally, only those who write an application renouncing to have the card, will not have one.

Judging by description, the universal electronic card (UEC) will look like a bank plastic card. It is proposed, that the card should have a full name and a photograph of a cardholder; number and expiry date; the number of a pension certificate.

But the main thing in this card is stored within an electronic medium. In addition to general information about a cardholder, UEC will store so-called "electronic applications". These are special codes of an authorized access to particular services.

Almost the entire set of applications is tightly controlled by the state (in particular, mandatory health and pension insurance services). Banking services are of exception: the cardholder will be offered a choice from the list of banks that have signed the contract. However, the state reserves the right to choose a bank when a citizen does not show civic consciousness and initiative; for instance, has not filed an application for a card or a rejection of it in due time.

The bill states that the issuance of cards (except duplicates) will be done free of charge. However, this does not mean that citizens do not have to bear any costs.

Unfortunately, the bill is not very clear whether the UEC somehow will be used to authenticate people on a united portal of state services, but it is quite possible, that the UEC is the electronic key to the state services, the Russian Prime told about in February. Considering the fact, that the UEC will combine pension and health care cards, there is hope that it will reduce the number of numerous documents, without which a Russian can not be considered a full-fledged citizen.

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