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Moscow Looks to Build Internet Wall

Russia may temporarily disconnect the country from the internet.

12 February 2019

Russian lawmakers will consider another plank in the Kremlin’s policy of internet independence today as the State Duma hears the first reading of a “sovereign internet” bill that would require internet providers to make sure they can still operate if a foreign country attempts to isolate the Russian internet.

 

The bill was introduced after the White House aired its worries over cyberattacks by Russia, China, and other countries last year, U.S. public broadcaster NPR writes.

 

Moscow also plans to test the robustness of its domestic internet, or Runet, by temporarily disconnecting it from the rest of the world.

 

The test could take place before 1 April, after a group of private and state-run providers said they would participate, London’s Telegraph reports.

 

Russian tech giants Yandex and Mail.ru support the “sovereign internet” bill, Vedomosti journalist Leonid Kovachich wrote in an opinion republished by The Moscow Times.

 

Moscow’s vision of a secure Runet may have partly been inspired by the Chinese “Great Firewall.” After conducting a simulated disconnect from the internet in 2014, officials concluded the Runet was vulnerable, Kovachich writes.  

 

 

  • Moscow has also said it will look into alternatives to the system that translated internet names into computer-readable form, the Domain Name System, which is administered by a California-based non-profit, ICANN, according to NPR.

 

  • The new law, if passed, will be administered by the communications regulator Roskomnadzor. Google has deleted some banned websites from its Russian platform in a deal with Roskomnadzor, Meduza reports, citing Vedomosti. Google is still refusing to comply with the censor’s demand to subscribe to its registry of banned sites, choosing instead to pay a fine of 500,000 rubles ($7,600) in December.

 

  • A Roskomnadzor spokesman told RIA Novosti last week the agency had established a "constructive dialogue" with Google over filtering content. Google Russia declined to comment, The Moscow Times reported.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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