Russian parliament approves bill to isolate country's 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 draft law, entitled the Digital Economy National Programme, necessitates the country making sure its internet provision can continue to function in the event of external powers attempting to disable the country's service. ISPs in the region are now preparing to test a system that would re-route web traffic in Russian Federation to exchange points controlled by Russia's telecom agency, Roskomnazor, ZDNet says.

Roskomnazor will inspect the traffic to block prohibited content and make sure traffic between Russian users stays inside the country, and is not re-routed uselessly through servers overseas, where it could be intercepted.

It's supposed to take place sometime before April 1, as this is the last day for submitting amendments to the proposed law.

The test disconnect experiment has been agreed on in a session of the Information Security Working Group at the end of January.

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Internet providers are effectively planning to flick the switch and cut Russian Federation off from the rest of the not-so-world wide web. But it also is meant to test if all Russian internet traffic can be gathered and routed through a few points controlled by government sources. There has been talk of increased sanctions against Russian Federation by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, in retaliation for cyber attacks and other online intrusions Russian Federation is accused of carrying out.

This is reportedly being done to protect Russia from potential cyberattacks, but it could also be used to more closely censor the internet use of Russian citizens.

Russian Federation and its main internet providers may be planning to disconnect the country from the internet. Russia has also set up "troll farms", or fake accounts run by Russian government officials, who use Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation about domestic politics in countries such as the United States.

The Russian government has agreed to foot the bill and to cover the costs of ISPs modifying their infrastructure and installing new servers for redirecting traffic towards Roskomnazor's approved exchange point.

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