Russia ‘Successfully Tests’ Sovereign Internet – Report

Russia has taken another step towards unplugging its Internet from the rest of the world after it ‘successfully tested’ a country-wide alternative.

The BBC, which quoted Russian media outlets, reported that Russia’s Ministry of Communications had said that ordinary users did not notice any changes. Yet details of the test remain vague however.

Earlier this year it was reported that Russian telcos were considering cutting the country off from the global internet in order to test proposed national security laws.

Sovereign internet

The Russian telcos had recommended carrying out a practical exercise that would simulate Russia being disconnected from the external internet, in order to study the effects this would have on their networks.

The law, which was proposed in the Russian Parliament in December 2018, was actually passed by the State Duma in April 2019, and is intended to ensure the ability of the internet to function within Russia even if the country were cut off from access to the global network.

The legislation wants to route all Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by the Russian government, which would monitor it for unlawful content as well as ensuring traffic remains within Russia as much as possible.

The bill also proposes building a national Domain Name System (DNS) to allow the internet to continue functioning in case of disconnection from the root servers operating elsewhere.

Essentially, Russian authorities want to route 95 percent of internet traffic within the country by 2020.

And it should be noted that Russia gained the legal authority to disconnect the country from foreign Internet servers after President Putin signed the controversial “sovereign internet” bill in May this year.

This was despite the protests of thousands of people, concerned it would tighten government controls of the Internet in Russia.

VPNs for example will not work on Russia’s sovereign internet. VPNs are popular in Russia, as they allow people to carry on using banned apps such as Telegram.

Russia isolation

And now the country has apparently successfully tested its sovereign Internet, and the results of the test will be passed to President Putin, the BBC reported.

It comes after Russia passed a law in November 2019 that will ban the sale of electronic devices including smartphones, smart TVs, and PCs, that are not pre-installed with Russian-made software.

The law will come into force in July 2020, and Russia is promoting the law as making it easier for ordinary Russians to use the gadgets they purchase.

But the concern is that by forcing foreign electronic manufacturers to pre-load Russian software, these makers could withdraw from the Russian market. There is also concern over the exact role of this Russian-made software.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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