Russia Prepares for Cyber War With Disconnect Test

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

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

The lower house of Russia's parliament has passed the first reading of a bill to create a self-standing Russian segment of the internet.

Russian Federation is reportedly planning to run a national test on its own infrastructure as part of an effort to "unplug" from the internet. Agora sees it as part of a larger government strategy of putting pressure on large companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to force them into working with the state if they want access to Russia's online market.

Named the Digital Economy National Programme (DENP), measures include the creation of Russia's own internet address system so that its online access could continue if connections to global servers were severed.

The experiment comes as lawmakers there assess the Digital Economy National Program, draft legislation that was submitted to Russia's parliament previous year, according to the RBK news agency.

US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on the bill on February 12, saying that "expert discussions" were continuing.

A Roskomnadzor spokesman told RIA Novosti last week the agency had established a "constructive dialogue" with Google over filtering content. Google Russia declined to comment, The Moscow Times reported. "Then how can we vote for a bill we don't understand?" said Valery Gartung of the leftwing Just Russia party.

On February 12, 2019, the State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation that will allow the federal authorities to take control over the connection points linking Russian Federation to the global Internet. Since 2016, a law has required social networks to store data about Russian users on servers within the country.

- Create infrastructure that would enable Russian sites to operate in the event that access to servers overseas is cut off or restricted.

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

"Russia doesn't manufacture any IT hardware except cables, maybe some people should hang themselves on them", shouted MP Sergei Ivanov of the nationalist LDPR.

One of the authors dismissed all criticism, citing the scale of the potential threat from Washington.

"All of the websites in Syria" have been turned off by the United States before, he claimed.

In an interview with Meduza, Internet freedom activist and "Roskomsvoboda" technical director Stanislav Shakirov argues that Russian Federation lacks the domestic investment infrastructure to develop its own tech startups the way China does.

"If in Europe, citizens' rights are violated due to internet censorship, then they have a higher probability of proving the negative impacts of internet surveillance than in Russian Federation". As a result, during the country's brief disconnect, the Internet service disruption may not be noticeable.

In response, social networks have been aggressively seeking out so-called "troll farms" that use deceptive accounts to spread false information.

Pashchenko, however, said the actual launch of a sovereign Internet is decades away.

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