Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Russian Federation plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet

Russian Federation plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday backed a bill that could cut off the country's internet traffic from servers overseas which critics say is a step towards censorship and possibly an isolated network like in North Korea.

The formal goal of the new test is to ensure that the Russian internet can function independently in the event that access is cut off by other countries.

Like many nations, much of Russia's internet access is still routed through so-called "exchange points" in the United States.

There are also theories that this latest move will help authorities create a massive surveillance and censorship system that will ultimately give them more control over the internet.

The concept appears similar to China's Great Firewall, which regulates internet operations in view of reinforcing national sovereignty. Agora, a Russian human rights group, said in a report this month that Russian internet freedoms had fallen fivefold in the past 12 months.

Technical detail is sadly lacking from the various Russian and English-language reports on precisely how this will be done, though the Russian state is reportedly reimbursing ISPs for the cost of extra infrastructure needed to make it happen.

Even that may not work: the draft law requires Roskomodzor to be kept informed of the entire scheme of every ISP's network and traffic routing in real time, something the operators argue is not possible.

Andrei Klishas, a senator and one of the authors of the draft bill, which was approved in its first reading in parliament on Tuesday, said the government had already earmarked 20bn roubles to cover the costs of ensuring Russia's cybersecurity in the event of foreign aggression.

The State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation co-authored by Senator Andrey Klishas that would allow the federal authorities to take control over the connection points linking Russian Federation to the global Internet.

The Russian government is planning to temporarily shut down the Russian internet. "This is a path towards isolating Russian Federation as a whole. from the internet".

However, some observers told the British publication that they believe the move is another step toward duplicating China's Great Firewall - which restricts access of that country's internet users to content approved by the communist government - in Russian Federation.

The Russian government has been working on this project for years.

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