State Duma passes Runet security bill in first reading

State Duma passes Runet security bill in first reading

If passed, the law could make it possible to cut Russian Federation off from the global web, or to initiate an Internet blackout in an isolated region if it is rocked by unrest or opposition, said Mr Andrei Soldatov, who co-authored a book on the history of Internet surveillance in Russian Federation. As a result, during the country's brief disconnect, the Internet service disruption may not be noticeable.

The move would be part of an experiment to see whether its cyberdefenses could manage an attack from a foreign power, according to Russian outlet RBK.

In a Working Group Session at the end of January, telecom operators including Megafon, Beeline, MTS, Rostelecom, and others said they agreed with the law's goals, but disagreed with technical implications, which they said would interrupt Russia's internet traffic. It will keep all the data that are circulating between the citizens and organisations in Russian within the borders of the country instead of passing through global routes.

The internet shutdown is part of a continuing effort on the part of the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin to allow the country's internet to operate independently.

The date for the disconnection has not been set but it will reportedly take place before 1 April 2019.

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Under the proposed law, Russian Federation wants to build its own version of the net's address system, known as Domain Name System (DNS), which could still operate if links to foreign-based servers were disconnected.

You could say that this test is Russia's response to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations threatening Russian Federation with sanctions due to the country's cyber attacks against other countries, including the United States.

The Internet shutdown test will help the Russian government to monitor and completely abandon the websites containing banned information.

But under the proposed rules, Russia's telecoms firms would have to install "technical means" to re-route that traffic through national exchange points. And the law's authors have been specific about who it aims to counter: They classify the bill as a response to "the aggressive character of the United States strategy on national cybersecurity passed in September 2018".

While some critics have said Russian Federation is considering creating a China-style firewall, it would be cheaper and easier to adapt the North Korean model of a nationwide intranet, he said. It also polices its router points, using filters and blocks on keywords and certain websites and redirecting web traffic so that computers can not connect to sites the state does not wish Chinese citizens to see.

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