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Planned Experiment Will Disconnect Russia from the Internet

02/15/2019

Authorities and major internet providers in Russia intend to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment purportedly aimed at enhancing national security, the Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) has reported. The stated reason for the experiment is to gather insights and provide feedback and modifications to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament in December. A draft of the law mandates that Russian internet providers ensure the independence of the Russian internet — Runet — and to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet in the event of foreign aggression.

“The topic of ensuring the security of communication networks and the Russian segment of the internet from targeted impacts has been raised in Russia since 2014. It seems to me that this is justified, because today the public communication network and the internet are the most important element of the infrastructure,” Alexander Pankov, the deputy director of Roskomnadzor, recently told Gazeta.ru. Roskomnadzor, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, has been described as Russia’s telecommunications “watch dog.” Pankov said the topic of ensuring the security of communication networks and the Russian segment of the internet from “targeted impacts” has been raised in Russia since 2014.

Russian telecom firms would be required to install “technical means” to re-route all Russian internet traffic to exchange points that have been approved or are managed by Roskomnadzor, which would ensure that traffic between Russian users stays within Russia and is not re-routed to servers abroad, where it could be intercepted.

No date for the test has been announced, but it is expected to be before April 1, which is the deadline to submit amendments to the legislation, known as the Digital Economy National Program.

All Russian internet providers have reportedly agreed with the law’s goals but not with its technical implementation, which, they feel, could cause major disruptions. In 2017, Russian officials said they plan to route 95% percent of all internet traffic locally by next year.

The US and other NATO nations have called for a stronger response to cyberattacks attributed to Russia.  — Thanks to ZDNet, Gazeta.ru, and other media accounts

 



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