Russian Federation moves to isolate itself from global internet


ZDNet and BBC report that the law's first draft requires internet providers to cut off the internet from the rest of the world so Russian authorities can determine if Russia's internet network, Runet, can operate independently if it is ever disconnected through a cyberattack.

The test would ensure all data passing between the country's citizens and organisations can stay local rather than being routed internationally.

A date for the test has not been set, but is supposed to happen before April 1, according to a law introduced previous year.

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 Russian State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation that is created to ensure the operation of the Internet in Russia if access to servers located overseas is cut off.

The proposed experiment is a part of the government's efforts to collect information and provide feedback and suggestions to legislation proposed by the Russian lawmakers in December 2018.

The test is the result of a draft law introduced to parliament previous year called the Digital Economy National Program.

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The legal changes would introduce a national domain name registry.

Ostensibly the goal of the legislation is to protect the Russian internet from the United States, which has an offensive cybersecurity strategy and lists Russia as one of the major sources of hacking attacks.

Some critics have expressed doubt whether it's even technically possible to sustain Russian Federation unplugging from the Internet.

The exercise follows aspirations of building an autonomous Internet infrastructure with the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The idea of cutting Russian Federation off from the broader internet was first proposed in 2014, after the Security Council of Russian Federation warned of the risks of relying on other countries to provide essential parts of the country's internet infrastructure.

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 law has drawn comparisons to the Great Firewall internet restrictions in China, which blocks certain keywords and blacklists sites such as Facebook.