Russia planning to go internet-free, for now as an experiment
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Censorship aside, being able to disconnect an entire country from the world wide web could be very helpful in some extreme situations — for example, if a global-scale cyber-attack is taking place. Back in December 2018, the Russian Parliament started discussing a law about the independence of the local internet space. Now, the time has already arrived to take the proposed approach for a spin.
According to the first draft of the aforementioned law, the Runet should be able to work without any connection to the rest of the internet if needed. Russian telecom companies are also required to come up with the technical means to re-route all local internet traffic to exchange points that have been previously approved — or are also managed — by Roskomnazor, the country's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media.
Once the test will start, Roskomnazor will process the traffic and will block prohibited content, making sure that all traffic between Russian users will not be re-routed through foreign servers that could be vulnerable to attacks. There is no official date for this test yet, but it is expected to take place before the end of March. April 1 is the deadline for submitting amendments to the law, which is known as the Digital Economy National Program.
This project is not entirely new, as the Russian authorities have been planning to make this happen for a while. Back in 2017, local officials unveiled that the government is planning to route locally no less than 95 percent of all Russian traffic by 2020. The local backup of the Domain Name System was tested back in 2014, with another major test being performed last year.
What do you think about Russia's move? Is it a good security asset to own or just another step in the direction of total censorship?
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