Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia has just signed the sovereign “Runet” law which will allow the country to disconnect itself from the rest of the internet in a few years. According to the law that will come in effect starting from November 2019, Russia wants to “maintain the stability” of its local internet and internet-related services in case foreign countries like the United States of America decide to cut off internet access to the country. The information reveals that the entire plan will take a few years for full implementation as telecom operators in the country will be mandated to follow this law starting from 2021.
According to a report by ZDNet, to implement the law, Russia will build its own Domain Name System (DNS) while supplying Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with special equipment. It is worth noting that that the special equipment will be given to ISPs from the state and the entire thing will cost about 20.8 billion rubles or about $320 million. The report clarifies that the equipment will ensure that the Roskomnadzor, the communications regulator in Russia will be able to direct all the traffic with the help of local Russian exchange points.
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The rerouting will only take place when the government thinks that the Runet is under threat. The entire thing sounds all good but one concerning point the report noted is that this will also allow Roskomnadzor to block any unwanted content from the internet with great ease. The centralized process will no longer require the regulator to wait for the ISPs to comply with the blacklist.
In fact, the ISPs using the special equipment provided by Roskomnadzor will no longer be responsible for blocking the banned content. However, this will only work when Runet is under threat. The report also stated that ISPs will also be asked to avoid directing “certain traffic through” the hardware provided by Roskomnadzor. This traffic is be determined by a cabinet of ministers”. Even though the government has denied that this is part of its plan to crack down on internet freedom but people are not buying it. This was demonstrated by a recent poll where only 23 percent Russians supported the move as part of a recent poll.