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Duma Invites Internet Firms to Working Group

Representatives of major Internet companies — Yandex, Google, Kaspersky Laboratory, Microsoft and others — were invited to form a working group for developing legislation related to Internet issues, a news report said Wednesday.

Alexei Kazakov, the new head of the State Duma subcommittee for Internet and the development of electronic democracy, will head the group that will include representatives of the business community Izvestia reported.

Previously, there was no such structure in the subcommittee, its former head Robert Shlegel said.

Despite consisting mainly of businessmen, the new structure will promote state interests and will help to reach compromises "so that all adopted legislation is useful to both the Internet community and the state," Kazakov said.

Shlegel was cautiously optimistic about the new body's prospects, given the previous unsuccessful attempt by Internet companies to establish productive dialogue with the authorities during the discussion of the anti-piracy law.

Matvei Alexeyev, executive director of the Foundation for the Development of Internet Technologies and Infrastructure was appointed the working group's coordinator. Members will focus on monitoring and analyzing new initiatives for regulating the Internet, he said.

The working group will coordinate its activities around drafting new legislation with the State Duma committee on information policy, headed by Alexei Mitrofanov, Alexeyev said.

Andrei Kolesnikov, head of the National Domain Coordination Center, believes the new structure will be effective only if legislators listen to it. Moreover, in many cases decisions about Internet regulations are made outside the State Duma, Kolesnikov said.

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