Russia moves to isolate self from global internet

Clay Curtis
February 12, 2019

In the short term the planned disconnection is largely meant to assuage the fears of domestic internet service providers that the draft legislation could impose huge costs on them and harm the reliability of the Russian internet. The draft legislation, which was introduced in Russia's parliament in December 2018, would also require Russian telecom companies to be able to reroute all internet traffic to exchange points approved by Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecoms regulator.

Roskomnazor will inspect the traffic to block prohibited content and make sure traffic between Russian users stays inside the country, and is not re-routed uselessly through servers overseas, where it could be intercepted.

The test is expected to happen before 1 April but no exact date has been set. The test disconnection would provide ISPs with data about how their networks would react. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its allies have threatened to sanction Moscow over frequent allegations of online interference and cyber attacks.

In March past year, Putin's then-Internet adviser, German Klimenko, said Russian Federation would be prepared with its own segment of the Internet should Western countries seek to punish it by cutting off all access.

ZDNet also reports that Russian officials "plan to route 95 percent of all internet traffic locally by 2020".

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But some officials think the voice that western countries will cut off Russia's network is very ridiculous, instead, the Russian government will do it automatically in emergency to eliminate the negative impacts on the nation.

Russian Federation has been accused of using the internet to interfere in the electoral process of countries such as France and the United States.

Internet providers are effectively planning to flick the switch and cut Russian Federation off from the rest of the not-so-world wide web.

The Russian government is providing cash for ISPs to modify their infrastructure so the redirection effort can be properly tested.

Critics say the bill would create an internet firewall similar to China's.

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