Digitalization of panic: DIT of Moscow against Muscovites – a round table on May 23

4 min


We continue weekly round tables on topics related to IT – and tomorrow we invite everyone to a round so dedicated to one of the hottest and most controversial: the work of DIT Moscow in the last two months to introduce digital passes and the Social Monitoring application in the capital.

The ambiguity of the topic, at least in the technical circles, was caused not only by the dubious legal aspects of the introduction of such restrictions – obviously, DIT is not responsible for them, but also by the extremely low quality of technical implementation.

It is enough to recall only the events around the “digital passes”:

  • almost constant unavailability of the nedoma.mos.ru service in the early days of work
  • occasional inaccessibility of it further
  • daily mass “zeroing” of passes to all individual entrepreneurs and their employees
  • many hours of data synchronization delays between different services and lost passes to cars anywhere
  • lack of an automatic control system for issuing passes to people holding quarantine orders
  • looped logic that does not allow employees of a number of organizations to obtain a pass in principle
  • “Nights of long servers” when DIT blocked the work of organizations such as political parties, embassies and consulates of foreign states and even the Moscow Government

And other, and other, and other. And these are just “digital passes”. If we recall the “Social Monitoring” application, the list of complaints may turn out to be multi-page.

All this not only violated the normal life of a huge number of people, but also led to negative consequences even in the fight against the epidemic – the haphazard, chaotic operation of such systems leads to the fact that people begin to perceive it as their main threat, and not the virus. Jokes about the fact that the mask on the face does not protect well from the coronavirus, but it is good – from fines, are not born from scratch.

At the same time, we, as IT specialists, understand that the situation is not so clear.

On the one hand, we have an absolutely unacceptable result: an information system that works so badly that the residents of the city begin to perceive precisely its work as the main threat. Worse, working outside the right field, allowing an unknown programmer or his boss to decide who is going to work tomorrow and who is being fined. Bringing to the breakdowns of seriously ill people with endless selfies requirements, interspersed with fines notifications. A system that finally undermines those vestiges of confidence in the government that still existed in people.

On the other hand, we understand that this system was developed in an emergency order — we do not have an internal DIT calendar in Moscow, but we can assume that development could begin around mid-February, or even at the beginning of March. Many outside observers directly voiced the idea that the DIT Moscow team did everything they could, you can’t demand more from it. We understand that even ordinary programmers are not always to blame for what the resulting system turned out to be – yes, we can say that people should have stood up and quit, and not built a digital concentration camp, but we will be honest: few of those who spoke would have decided on such an act .

Nevertheless, it is too late to prevent what happened, but it is necessary to understand it..

  • What is the reason for constant failures?
  • Could the development be better organized?
  • Who should be responsible for the result?

We will discuss all these issues tomorrow at a round table to which we invited lawyers, developers, experts and journalists – because we want to hear different points of view. We will talk about how highly loaded systems are developed, how the work of the Moscow Engineering Institute and its interaction with external experts are arranged, what are the legal claims to the system and what consequences its operation may entail in the current situation.

Our goal is not to blame or justify anyone a priori, but to understand what really happens, why it happens and what can be done so that next time it happens differently.

Round table participants:

  • Vitaly Ardelyan, CTO and Development Manager, Amber Labs
  • Igor Vitteljournalist
  • Alexander Isavnin, member of the Pirate Party of Russia, independent expert
  • Dmitry Lysakovsky, lawyer, senior partner of the United Legal Partnership, member of the videoconferencing of the Direct Democracy Party
  • Vyacheslav Makarov, General Secretary of the videoconferencing party of the Direct Democracy Party, in the past – head of the R&D company Wargaming
  • Alexey Pilko, historian, member of the videoconferencing party of direct democracy
  • Timofey Shevyakov, political strategist, historian, member of the videoconferencing party of direct democracy

Moderator of the round table – Oleg Artamonov, member of the videoconferencing party of direct democracy.

The round table is held jointly by the organizing committee of the conference Analogbytes and the highest coordinating council of the Direct Democracy Party.

The round table starts on Saturday, May 16, 12:00 Moscow time. According to the experience of previous round tables, it will last about an hour and a half.

Broadcasting is possible watch on youtube. The recording of the round table upon its completion will be available through the same link.

Questions to the participants of the round table right along its course can be asked there, in the broadcast chat. The moderator will read them and, as far as possible, broadcast them to the participants.

P.S. If you want to speak out in support of the Moscow Information Technology Institute from the perspective of a developer or development manager, please write to us in a personal email. Unfortunately, the authors of the posts requested by us in support of the DIT that we asked for did not express a desire to participate in an open discussion; we also failed to get through to the leadership of the DIT in Moscow. We repeat – we would like to hear all points of view.


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