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Putin to Launch “Independent Internet”

In his annual state of the nation address on Wednesday, February 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia must guard against the possibility of Western countries blocking Russia from the global Internet, and that (therefore) it is necessary for Russia to create its own cyberspace.

Putin endorsed legislation now working its way through parliament that would authorize the state to control the exchange points that connect Russia’s Internet resources to those of the outside world. On February 12, the State Duma adopted the first reading of this “Internet-isolation” bill.

Once the bill is finally approved, the legislation will require the local Internet, known as the RUnet, to pass through exchange points managed by Russia’s telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor. Once in force, the system will protect Russia in the event of a cyberwar while also filtering Internet traffic to the country.

Russian media reported on February 11 that a test, which will cut off all data routes connecting Russia to outside cyberspace, will occur before April 1, though a firm date has yet to be set.

Source: The Paper, February 21, 2019