In a revolutionary decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law to give Russia a ‘sovereign internet’ that the government of the Russian Federation could disconnect from the global infrastructure of the World Wide Web. This will ensure that the country’s internet can be controlled within its territory and cannot be switched off from abroad.
According to the new rule, the Russian government will create a national network which will operate independently and isolated from the rest of the world. The Russian parliament described this decision as a way to deal with threats to the stable, safe and integral operation of the Russian Internet on Russian territory.
According to the Moscow Times, “Russia reportedly carried out drills in mid-2014 to test the country’s response to the possibility of its internet being disconnected from the web… The secret tests reportedly showed that isolating the Russian internet is possible, but that ‘everything’ would go back online within 30 minutes.”
Under the legislation, an alternative domain name system will be introduced for Russia. All the internet service providers will be required to disconnect from any foreign servers, relying only on Russia’s DNS instead. However, some critics have warned that the new law will lead to censorship and radical control over the network.
According to Moscow, the new legislation is a defensive move against the United States. The US currently holds the switch to control internet and Putin speculates that it may cut Russia off from the global internet. Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor is set to seize control of Russia’s Internet and filter all internet traffic.
The state media regulator and technology companies in Russia are supporting the move. The new law requires Internet providers to install equipment to route Russian web traffic through servers in the country. This will allow Russian intelligence agencies to improve their surveillance measures and the state authorities to control information.