The Institute for Information Freedom Development (IIFD) fighting for the state standards to be available in the internet has managed to persuade the Russian government in its rightness. On the eve of the New Year’s holidays the decree of the RF cabinet of ministers setting the procedure to publish the national standards on the site of the Federal Agency for Metrology and Technical Regulation (Rostehregulirovanie) has been enforced. The document foresees the standards to be open and available free of charge. However, the officials do not intend to give up.
The confrontation between the Agency and Institute started on September 1st 2005. Then IIFD filed a claim to the Federal Court of St. Petersburg Krasnogvardeisky District accusing the Agency of not complying with the Government Decree. According to the Institute the fact that the state standards were not published on the official site of the Agency violated the rights of citizens for access to the state information resources. The Institute research fellows also charged the Agency with illegal trade in state standards through the subordinate federal state unitary enterprises, one of which was headed by the current head of the Agency Grigory Elkin.
The RF Government Decree of December 29th 2007 ‘On making amendments to the Regulation on publishing national standards and classifiers of techno-economic and social information’ helped to resolve the confrontation between the Institute and Rostehregulirovanie. The document sets the new procedure to publish the national standards in the internet. The given document approves the conclusions made by the government commission, which earlier commissioned Rostehregulirovanie to publish the standards on the site on a regular and open basis. Ivan Pavlov, IIFD Director, says the given decision has launched the rusty mechanisms of the Agency and his words are likely to confirm.
The Decree contains the item in accordance with which Rostehregulirovanie ‘has to publish the standards on the official site of the Federal Agency for Metrology and Technical Regulation on a regular basis and free of charge’.
The institute hopes if will be hard for the officials to question the official document. ‘The public servants, who are used to selling the state standards, have no loopholes this time, as the document highlights the access should be free of charge. The term ‘open access’ left some room for manoeuvre. However, now many will have to accept the fact that their profitable business exists no longer’, - Ivan Pavlov says.
Rostehregulirovanie does not share IIFD optimism. The press service of the Agency has commented on the state decree in the following way: ‘The item referred to is about ‘publishing the national standards on a regular basis as they are adopted’.
According to Ivan Pavlov, neither of the court definitions related to the case on the state standards availability through the internet contains the determination of ‘the newly adopted standards’. Besides, IIDF will question in court any incident of not fulfilling the new decree. ‘Our research fellows continue monitoring the situation, while the war related to national standards will finish only when all state standards are published on the site of Rostehregulirovaniye’, - he insists.
The next stage of confrontation between the institute and the agency might result from examining the operations of the federal unitary enterprise Standardinform subordinate to Rostehregulirovanie. FAS is examining Standardinform for possible violations of the antimonopoly legislation, CNews found out. ‘The given enterprise is currently in charge of the federal information fund for technical regulations and standards. Thus, the business entity is in essence vested with the state functions to manage the fund, which violates the law’, - IIFD explains.