Anna Serebryanikova, MegaFon - on open data, creating legislation in big data and conditions for Russia's breakthrough

Anna Serebryanikova - President of the Association of Big Data Market Participants, Member of the Board of Directors

MegaFon Company, Head of the Working Group“Information Infrastructure” of the ANO “Digital Economy” and a member of the Coordinating Council for Digitalization in the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

She graduated from the Law Faculty of Moscow State University. I received a Master of Law degree with honors from the University of Manchester. In 2006, she joined MegaFon, where a year later she was appointed corporate secretary, and in 2008, she was appointed director of legal affairs. Since 2012, she has headed the legislative and executive power unit. In 2016–2018, Anna Serebryankova is MegaFon's Operations Director. She also served on the Mail.Ru Group Board of Directors.

The real problem is how to put data into circulation.

- What can we expect from legislation that may soon appear on the big data market?

- We are counting in the Association of Market Participants,that legislation about big data will not appear. It is not necessary. Moreover, there is no legal definition of big data anywhere in the world. And this is not an accident, because big data is a developing technological entity, which in the legal field does not make sense to define.

“Because no one can tell where big data starts?”

- Yes, no one can say a thousand entries -this is big data or not. Two minutes of processing a machine is a lot or a little. There is no legal purpose in this, because big data in itself serves certain purposes. And what the legislator wants to do is to protect the interests of citizens and society. And regulate business activities. Here, in order to protect citizens, it is necessary to deal with a clearer or more applied definition of the legislation on personal data. Legislation on secrets. Where is the border of personal data, how is it depersonalized, what can be done with impersonal data that cannot be recovered, and so on. That is, how to put data into circulation, so that they become available for processing by neural networks, for example. This is now an urgent problem. The second thing to do is to switch from the prohibitive nature of data regulation to the permissive, when a person manages his own data. He wants his data to be used for scientific purposes in medicine - he gives them away. Does not want - does not give.

Ethical issues and closeness of the state, as the owner of big data

- You said about ethical issues - is there an ethical committee in the Association (for example, the Big Data Association)? How and who formulates this ethics now?

- We are developing a code of ethics, whichbefore the end of the summer we plan to submit as an official document. All members of the Big Data Association join it, it is open for joining any other market participants. It formulates the principles on which we work with data. What we can do, what we can not, what is the responsibility for this comes.

- This is an ethical document that makes up business representatives. Will there be an open discussion, the involvement of experts from some other areas?

- We look forward to an open discussion -for the first time we will conduct it within the framework of the economic forum. And further to other sites. We do this together: our Association, the Institute for Internet Development, the Analytical Center under the Government, the Media Communication Union - a rather wide circle of experts is involved.

- How much should the state get into the big data market and how effectively does it do it now?

- The state is a big player in the data field. Of course, not all the data it can open or allow their secondary use. But there are types of information that are interesting to business, it would make sense to open them. At least for scientific purposes at the start. If we are talking about both big data and AI, then the training of neural networks needs to be done on data. And, perhaps, in order for Russia to make a breakthrough in this direction, it is necessary, as a matter of fact, to create scientific communities that will test various models, algorithms, and further share them with the business. We conduct such a dialogue with the state, because it is impossible not to conduct it. It is clear that the state is difficult to make such decisions. But I personally believe that the use of these state information systems is possible, and we need to come to this soon.

- And the goal is for the state to open this data?

- Yes, in some formats opened data. These may be special conditions of use, and restrictions, but, nevertheless, to remain completely closed, probably from the point of view of the digital economy, is wrong.

- It is logical if we are talking about the data that are beginning to collect now, and warn users.

- Users are always warned - there was no such time when someone was collecting data, did not warn and did not take consent.

“Well, there were user agreements that no one ever read ...”

- They continue to never read, nothing has changed.

- Yes, but you do not think that now the business needs to explain to users in a more understandable language what happens to their data? What data is collected?

- Well, this is a trick question - of course, you needexplain if citizens want to hear it. So I want to teach you now, for example, to do an ultrasound. But, if you do not want to learn, you will never learn. The same is with the data - if you want to understand this, of course, there must be tools explaining what is happening with the data. And if you do not want, then I will not force you to know about it.

Business does not want to steal a person’s identity

“The Association of Big Data Markets is still a business. And business, naturally, wants less restrictions and regulation.

- No, in fact, interested in the Associationin user awareness. Because our customers are you. We want to be chosen, and we are not annoyed. Therefore, consensus between citizens and manufacturers of some products is very important. No need to think about the fact that the business wants to break something, steal its identity from a citizen and it is not known what to use. No, this is a misconception. On the contrary, we want you to like how we make personalized offers using your data.

- You are now talking about the use of datainside the company. If the business collects data, on their basis makes you a personalized offer. And if some company sells this data to further contractors?

- For example, data of mobile operators are sold.DIT Moscow in order that he better plan the road. There are no your last names, first names and middle names. There is an amount of data on movements from point A to point B at a certain time of day. Is it good or bad? I find that good. It helps to better plan the roads. Should I ask you that the data on your movement will plunge into the anonymized database, and will be provided in this way - I think that, probably, not.

- How much and in what forms can we expect some kind of cooperation of the largest stakeholders on the data market - telecom, banks, and so on?

- For each market participant and largedatabase owners protecting their perimeter is a competitive advantage. Therefore, there is no market for trade in raw data. Neither Sberbank, nor MegaFon, nor Rostelecom - no one sells and will never sell its data. Because it is a competitive advantage. But data enrichment is an interesting direction, because it can be used to extract new economic meanings that were previously unavailable to us. But at the same time enrichment should be without transfer. And one of the goals of the Association is to develop algorithms at the technological level, when data enrichment is possible, but personal data or databases are not transferred.

Photo: CIPR

- At the forum, they talked a lot about throughtechnology, there are nine areas - big data, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and so on. To what extent is the correct and necessary separation?

- I think separation is not the key -All of these areas are important for the development of the digital economy, and the more we talk about it, the less misconceptions people have about robots replacing people or taking their jobs. No, this will not happen in the short term - and does not happen. On the contrary, talking about these end-to-end technologies makes it possible to create a public consensus on this issue. Well, when the second opinion about the research is formed on the basis of neural networks and is a hint for the doctor? Probably good. Does it violate your rights? No, it does not break. And this kind of application is becoming more and more.


Where to get the data is a good question. One of the objectives of the Association is to create a so-called sandbox, where they will collect historical data - not only their own, but also other industry data. For example, open weather data or traffic corridor loading. And we don't even know exactly for what purposes startups can use them. The historical data of some participants will also get into the sandbox, because we are not yet ready to give online data - the regulatory component is unclear and this is a rather risky area. But we will give away the historical data, depersonalized, enrich them with information from open sources, and it will be such an environment so that startups can use or test their algorithms on that data.

“Will they be able to buy them back from there?”

- No, most likely it will be a system of admission,accession to the general rules of ethical nature of the Association. Because we want our base not to be used for illegal purposes, so we will control it. This will be a sandbox for testing. If one of the participants of the Association is interested in a startup, then these are specific questions about cooperation.