Russia prepares for Western sanctions to extend to the world wide web
Russia is testing its technological independence by developing plans to disconnect its internet from the rest of the planet, according to reports.
The massive ‘unplugging’ will affect over 100 million internet users in Russia.
If Western sanction pushes further to the point of excluding Russia from the world wide web, the country will have its own internet, Russian presidential aide on the internet, German Klimenko claims.
“Technically, we are ready for anything now,” he said.
But the ‘cut off’ would be temporary, which would determine if an isolated Russian internet can operate ‘offline’ in the event of being ousted by Western interests or a cyber attack.
“We are talking about the protection of critical infrastructure, which should be located in the territory of Russia,” Putin said in2016.
“There is a high probability of ‘tectonic shifts’ in our relations with the West. Therefore, our task is to adjust the Russian segment of the internet to protect [it] from such scenarios.”
A draft bill first introduced in December received approval from Russian lawmakers last week, shows the plans are serious.
Russian internet providers must execute technical measures within their networks to deal with threats from possible foreign invaders, thus insulating the Russian internet (or run) from the rest of the web.
The move will ensure all traffic is carried on the country’s internal systems.
With that in mind, it might be easy to see why Russia is so paranoid about the internet.
The Russian agency responsible for communications, Roskomnadzor, will obtain new powers to control and censor prohibited media on the internet, which is currently made by Russian ISPs independently.
The US government’s recent Cybersecurity Strategy unveiled in September has prompted Russia’s initiativ.e to insulate its internet.
“The calls to increase pressure on our country being made in the West oblige us to think about additional ways to protect Russian sovereignty in cyberspace,” The chairman of a Russian committee on information technology, Leonid Levin, said.
“Russia’s disconnection from the world wide web is one possible scenario amid the escalation of international tensions.”
Not everyone is happy
Human rights and internet freedoms advocates say the ‘cut off’ could create a technological dystopia like the Great Firewall of China.
The extreme measure has even been criticized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs who say it is a threat to the functioning of the Russian internet than any possible foreign cyber-attacks.
“The disconnection of Russia from the global web would mean that we are already at war with everyone,” Russian internet expert Filipp Kulin told the BBC’s Russian language service.
“In this situation, we should be thinking how to grow potatoes in a nuclear winter, and not about the internet.”