Russia Considers Briefly Disconnecting From Global Internet

Russia to disconnect from the internet as part of a planned test

Russia plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet

The planned unplugging is part of a cyber war-gaming exercise to make sure Russian Federation can still operate even if it is disconnected from outside its borders.

According to a report on the Russian news site RBC, the planned disconnection is meant to analyse the country's preparedness for a draft law mandating a "sovereign" internet.

The formal objective of the new test is to ensure that the Russian internet can function independently in the event that access is cut off by other countries.

Critics say the bill would create an internet firewall similar to China's. Any traffic that leaves Russian Federation would be forced to go thorough registered exchange points, subject to regulation by the state communications regulator Roskomnadzor.

Earlier this month, the Agora human rights group said the legislation was one of several new laws that "seriously threaten internet freedom". "Moreover, the methods of its implementation have not yet been precisely defined".

Cost ranks high among the ISPs' concerns. "This is very serious", said Andrei Soldatov, who co-authored a book on the history of internet surveillance in Russian Federation.

"Theoretically, the U.S has the ability to cut off Russia's Internet connectivity from outside, but there is no precedent to trace worldwide", said the team leader of Ru-center, one of Russia's largest domain name registrars and hosting providers.

Russian internet providers have reportedly been tasked by April 1, to come up with a way that the country could reliably shield itself from cyberattacks. "In this situation we should be thinking how to grow potatoes in a nuclear winter, and not about 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. "This is a path towards isolating Russian Federation as a whole. from the internet".

The Russian government has been working on this project for years.

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