Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to give Russia a ‘sovereign internet’ that the government of the Russian Federation could disconnect from the global infrastructure of the World Wide Web and which according to Kremlin ensure ‘sustainable functioning’ of the country’s internet if hostile powers try to switch it off from abroad.
Under the new legislation, the Russian government would now create a national network, able to operate separately, independently and isolted from the rest of the world, which according to the Russian parliament, would deal with “threats to the stable, safe and integral operation of the Russian Internet on Russian territory” by centralizing “the general communications network.”
In another words, the new law sets in train plans for an alternative domain name system (DNS) for Russia in the event that it is disconnected from the World Wide Web, or, one assumes, in the event that its politicians deem disconnection to be beneficial. Internet service providers would be compelled to disconnect from any foreign servers, relying on Russia’s DNS instead.
Critics however have warned that the new law, signed by Putin on May 1 and published on the Kremlin website, will lead to censorship over wide parts of the Internet.
The new legislation, according to Moscow is a defensive move in case the United States were to cut Russia off from the global Internet. Post passing the legislation, Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, would essentially seize control of Russia’s Internet and would then be able to filter all Internet traffic.
Russia’s state media regulator and its leading technology companies have expressed support for the move, although what’s actually thought away from the glare of publicly controlled media is hard to tell, says Forbes. One can assume this is more rhetoric than realpolitik and will be significantly harder to effect that has been suggested by politicians.
Among other things, the new measure requires Internet providers to install equipment to route Russian web traffic through servers in the country.
Internet advocates have said that will allow for greater surveillance by Russian intelligence agencies, and the ability of state authorities to control information.
Roskomnadzor’s chief, Aleksandr Zharov, said last month that the measures would also target Telegram, a popular messaging app that is widely used by Russians.
According to the Moscow Times, “Russia reportedly carried out drills in mid-2014 to test the country’s response to the possibility of its internet being disconnected from the web… The secret tests reportedly showed that isolating the Russian internet is possible, but that ‘everything’ would go back online within 30 minutes.”
Via ~ Rferl.org
Top Image – Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia (Photo by Nikita Karimov on Unsplash)