Russia’s biggest plan now exposed to the world, Russia plans to unplug from the Global Internet service in upcoming months, according to the recent media reports.
The test will mean that the data exchanged between citizens and Russian organizations remain within the country instead of being routed internationally and it is a part of avoiding future Cyber-War.
Last year a bill was submitted to Parliament that requires the necessary technical changes to operate independently.
The test must be done before April 1, but no specific date has been set.
Russia’s Major Problems with Internet
The bill, called the national digital economy program, requires that Russian service providers guarantee their ability to function if foreign powers act to isolate the country online.
NATO and its allies have threatened to punish Russia for cyber attacks and other online interference that it is regularly accused of instigating.
In particular, the law requires Russia to build its own version of the network address system, called DNS, to operate if links to these international servers are cut.
Currently, 12 organizations are monitoring the root servers for DNS and none of them are in Russia. However, many copies of the network’s main address book already exist in Russia, suggesting that its network systems could continue to operate even if punitive measures were taken to cut it.
The test should also involve Internet service providers who demonstrate that they can direct the data to government-controlled routing points. These will filter the traffic so that the data exchanged between the Russians reach their destination, but all the data destined for foreign computers will be eliminated.
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Finally, the Russian government wants all national traffic to pass through these routing points. This would be part of an effort to establish a system of mass censorship similar to that observed in China, which is trying to eliminate illicit trafficking.
Russian news agencies reported that the country’s ISPs largely support the bill’s objectives, but are divided on how to do it. According to them, the test will result in a “major disruption” of Russian Internet traffic, reports the ZDNet technology news website.
The Russian government is providing money to ISPs to modify their infrastructure so that the reorientation effort can be adequately tested.
Our Thoughts on the Russian Internet Unplug Plan
When a country acts in a way that interferes with the way that data or information flows in and out of its borders, we cannot help but only be skeptical.
Throughout history, many governments have used various means to gain control over the information available on the internet.
In Cuba, for example, the media were exploited and controlled by the communist government. As of today, your Internet connection is censored and restricted. Access to certain websites such as Wikipedia is strictly prohibited.
North Korea is also severe in its censorship. All the media in the country are controlled by the government of North Korea.
Radio and television are pre-established not to receive radio and television programs from outside North Korea. In addition, the Internet is not available in most parts of the country and only senior officials can access it.
Regardless of how information is censored, one thing is common among these censorship policies: they are aimed at government propaganda.
The control of information, mainly through censorship, is used to ensure that criticism of the government is blocked and that people only see what the government wants them to see. The implication of this is that the violations committed by the government and its leaders are often not recognized.
At the same time, according to Amnesty International, the act of censorship aimed at limiting political criticism and access to information is contrary to international human rights law and the right to freedom of expression.
Now, with Russia’s efforts to duplicate the Great Firewall of China, it establishes an extremely narrow Internet that does not include access to Google, Facebook, YouTube, and any other site and content that the communist government disapproves and judges in a harmful way.
Whatever the pretext, it only means more control for the Russian government and less freedom for citizens.