Russian Federation to Test No-Internet Connectivity as Part of Cyber Warfare Preparations

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The law's text does not make it clear how unplugging Russian Federation from the global internet would work in practice.

There are also theories that this latest move will help authorities create a massive surveillance and censorship system that will ultimately give them more control over the internet.

While Russia is disconnected from the broader internet, it is proposed that Russian watchdog Roskomnadzor will determine whether Russian users can transmit data to each other without the possibility of worldwide interception.

The bill calls for the creation of a system that would protect Russian Federation in the event of a cyberwar while also filtering Internet traffic to the country, but there has been debate about how realistic that is and how much it would cost.

The Bill aims to put in place "defence mechanisms to ensure the long-term stable functioning of Internet networks in Russia" if the U.S. takes action in cyber space to threaten them. They argue that it is needed to guard Russian Federation against potential cyberattacks.

"This is very serious", said Andrei Soldatov, who co-authored a book on the history of internet surveillance in Russian Federation. It creates an opportunity to minimize the transfer of data Russian users exchange overseas. The law was officially presented as an anti-terrorism measure - but many criticized it as an attempt to control online platforms that can be used to organize anti-Kremlin demonstrations.

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Earlier this month, the Agora human rights group said the legislation was one of several new laws that "seriously threaten internet freedom".

They want the ability to inspect traffic and ensure it is not routed outside of Russian Federation. It would also make it easier for Russian Federation to ban blocked websites, a prospect that's drawn criticism from those who fear Internet censorship, similar to that in China.

But the cabinet and Vladimir Putin's internet adviser are in favour of the law.

Leonid Levin, who heads the Duma's committee on information policy, called the comparisons to China "incorrect" here.

The draft law provides for the possibility of installing technical equipment on communication networks that determine the source of transmitted traffic.

Russian legislators have given tentative approval to a draft legislation that could cut off Russia from the global internet. Sign up to receive it here.

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