On the Impact of Digital Technologies on Modern Society

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The article analyzes the changes that have occurred in public life and legal relations during the period of rapid development and implementation of information and communication technologies. Based on the presented facts and observations, the necessity of normative regulation of various processes and persons in the digital space is substantiated. Government agencies must seriously adapt to modern challenges.

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In one of our previous articles, we considered the problem of the integral importance of information in modern society. The results of that discussion were that information has an essential value, the revelation of which should be regulated by law, since it can affect basic human rights and freedoms. In turn, the protection and supervision of compliance with these norms by state bodies can be achieved only by a comprehensive impact at the financial, regulatory, and organizational levels on the field of information technologies [1, 2].

The importance and value of information was precisely described by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, M.V. Mishustin, in March of last year, who emphasized that the data of today is the “new oil, gold, and platinum of the 21st century”1.

The concept of information as a value does not require additional justification. At the same time, if we analyze the current situation in the field of information technologies, the statement will require significant clarification.

According to the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection”, information consists of messages and data regardless of their presentation form. These regulations find their wide practical implementation not only in the activities of social network users and information operators, but even in the conservative law enforcement sphere. Thus, in applied research, the need to use the entire range of information — operational, statistical, and reference — from various sources, including the Internet, has been noted for quite a long time [3].

Thus, it should be assumed that only information in the form of messages is the key value when information is an object of commodity-market relations.

We must disagree with this statement for the following reasons:

As mentioned above, the development and spread of digital communication technologies currently require the regulation of relations between people arising in cyberspace [3]. In developing this thesis, it should be stated that these factors have generated a number of phenomena that were previously quite difficult to imagine.

The most striking example, in our opinion, is the following: Digital communication technologies are not only messengers, electronic mailboxes, and various social networks. They also comprise a significant number of online entertainment programs, which, first of all, should include online network games. Many people involved in the game process (sometimes the number of users reaches dozens of millions2), form communities that exist according to certain established rules. The enthusiasm of individuals and the prevalence of such hobbies are confirmed by the following facts:

“The virtual universe is firmly penetrating into real life. That is why many unique items in online games cost a lot of money… people are ready to give not virtual currency, but real money… the main goal in the Entropia Universe is the purchase of an entire planet (Calypso) for a fabulous 6 million US dollars. The main difference with this planet is that a developed and self-sufficient economic system was created there”3.

Yet, in addition to the possibility of buying and selling virtual things, there is a practice of stealing them4.

How should the cost of a particular cyber product be estimated in this case?

There are already Internet websites that are essentially online markets for such goods5. Thus, we can state that a certain segment of commodity–market relations has developed and exists which is not regulated by normative law in any way and actually falls out of view from the state. At the same time, the lack of legal regulation or judicial precedent is typical for other countries as well6.

Returning to the example of the purchase of “Planet Calypso” for six million US dollars, it should be assumed that this purchase was made by some wealthy person not in the interests of his child, the fan of computer games. Most likely, such a transaction was a purposeful investment, since there was a developed economic system on this planet. Thus, having spent a large amount of real currency on the purchase of a cyber-mite, a person has actually invested in a virtual business, which, despite the fact that it exists only as a game, can bring real money as income.

And again, it should be emphasized that this income method is not regulated by law, which is an undoubted gap.

In some cases, the subject of commercial turnover is not the very information, but rather the information space that is filled with certain content. As an example, we can cite the video hosting site YouTube, where the placement of information can bring a tangible profit7.

Actually, the main mechanism for generating income on YouTube looks very simple: if a user places content on the site that becomes popular, then gradually its reproduction will be preceded by some kind of commercial that cannot be completely missed. Advertising is paid for by the interested person, the advertiser, and part of the fee is transferred by the video hosting owners to the person who places the most popular videos.

What is the determining factor that affects the profitability or unprofitability of a particular video? The key factor of success is its distribution among users, i.e., the more information field a certain content occupies, the higher its price.

“The growth of digital information seems really unstoppable. According to big data research sources, 90% of the data that exists in the world today was created in the last 10 years. Today, 1021 bits of information are created in the world per year, and the speed of their production is constantly growing. Every year, the number of created bits increases by 20%. If such rates continue in the coming centuries, then in 300 years the power required to generate these bits will exceed all the current energy consumption of mankind…However, with an increase of 20% per year, by the year 2370, the amount of bits produced will exceed the number of atoms on Earth”8.

Thus, it is easy to guess that in the near future a constraint may arise whereby only valuable information will be subject to storage. With a shortage of capacity for other content, the user, trying to save his or her information, will pay for its storage. In turn, this will mean that it will be more profitable to store only those data that directly benefit the user, in comparison to constant payment for storage.

If you look at the list of current leaders of earnings in YouTube, the “information-saturated” future does not seem too happy.

Thus, the information space at the present time (and the storage of information in the future) should be recognized as a very popular subject in civil circulation.

In addition, I would like to emphasize that, in such a situation, the safety of educational information content causes reasonable concern: will the works of the most famous poets and writers, such as A. Pushkin, L. Tolstoy, F. Dostoevsky, be stored in a paid information field or will their place be taken by fashionable persons of a certain period of time? The Russian President V.V. Putin rightly noted during a meeting with participants of the All-Russia mutual assistance action, “We are together”: “The Internet is capable of destroying society from within, if it is not subject to moral laws. By and large, it must obey not only the laws, the legal rules, but also the moral laws of our society. Otherwise, this society will be destroyed from with in”9.

Based on this, it can be concluded that the layer of public relations described in this article should not be ignored by the state and its legislators. Their regulations should be based on the latest trends in computer technology development and the basic legal values of our society and the state, as recognized by the Russian Constitution.


1 https://yandex.ru/turbo?text=https%3A%2F%2Ftass.ru%2Fpolitika% 2F7959893&utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium= mobile&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fyandex.ru%2Fnews.03brand.2020) (accessed on: 10.05.2021).

2 https://zen.yandex.ru/media/wotankist/skolko-vsego-liudei-igraet-world-of-tanks-5cc0439c621b6d00b28b2ff0 (accessed on: 10.05.2021).

3 https://zen.yandex.ru/media/inostalgy/5-samyh-dorogih-virtualnyh-predmetov-kuplennyh-za--5c5bd0f912c00000ad98322c (accessed on: 10.05.2021).

4 https://zakon.ru/blog/2017/2/1/virtualnaya_sobstvennost_v_onlajn-igrah_i_ugolovnyj_zakon (accessed on: 10.05.2021).

5 https://funpay.ru/ (accessed on: 10.05.2021).

6 https://zakon.ru/blog/2017/1/27/virtualnaya_sobstvennost_v_internetigrah_s_tochki_zreniya_prava (accessed on: 10.05.2021).

7 How much do YouTube stars make - new Forbes list, The Flow (Ru). (2020, October 27), https://the-flow.ru/news/forbes-top15-youtube2020 (accessed on: 10.05.2021)

8 Vopson M.M. (2020, August 11). The information catastrophe. AIP Advances 10. https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0019941.

9 Davydov O., Putin claimed the Internet can destroy the society from within. Lenta.ru. https://turbo.lenta.ru/news/2021/03/04/putin_inet/ (accessed on: 10.05.2021).


About the authors

Mikhail V. Kolesov

University of the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: kolesov.mv@yandex.ru

candidate of jurisprudence, professor

Russian Federation, Moscow


  1. Igonina NA, Kakitelashvili MM. The use of modern technologies in the activities of the prosecutor's office to ensure the legality of legal acts. Bulletin of the Academy of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation. 2015;4(48):49–54. (In Russ.).
  2. Kolesov MV. On the importance of information in modern society. Russian journal of legal research. 2020;7(1):119–122. (In Russ.).
  3. Khatov EB. Information and analytical support of prosecutorial supervision over the implementation of laws in the law enforcement activities of customs authorities. Bulletin of the Russian Customs Academy. 2015;(1):53. (In Russ.).

Copyright (c) 2021 Kolesov M.V.

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