Russia wants to create its own ‘Sovereign Internet’ under new law

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Russia has advised its citizens of an upcoming Internet disruption that will take down all traffic in anticipation of a draft law related to cybersecurity. The law would mandate the creation of a ‘sovereign’ Internet in what critics say may be a step toward Russia establishing its own ‘Great Firewall.’ The disruption will result from telecom companies conducting tests in anticipation of the new regulations.

Russia’s ‘sovereign Internet’ draft law would seek to help protect the nation from cybersecurity attacks, but the move may be part of a growing attempt to limit the content residents can access. The nation’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, is behind the draft law, though local telecom companies have called aspects of its proposed requirements burdensome and, in some cases, impossible to meet.

Under the law, Russian telecom companies would need to provide Roskomnadzor with real-time data on their traffic routing, among other things; as well, all Internet traffic exiting the country would be required to pass through registered exchange points regulated by the communications agency.

The draft law would come with a substantial price tag, according to a report from Russian publication RBC, which reports that it obtained a copy of minutes related to a meeting held by the nation’s telecom companies in January. The overall goal appears to be the creation of a local intranet that could continue to function if a different nation, such as the US, attempted to keep Russia from accessing the Internet at large.

Critics have expressed confusion and concern regarding Russia’s move, particularly that it would lead to the eventual crackdown on citizen who attempt to access banned content. Russia has previously targeted websites featuring anti-Kremlin content, details about human rights violations in the nation, and more.

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