'Providers are planning to temporarily cut the Russian internet off from the world wide web amid attempts to increase government control of information flows.
A group of major private and state telecoms led by Natalya Kaspersky, co-founder of the Kaspersky Lab antivirus maker which was banned by the US government, have decided to conduct the test to disconnect “Runet” from the rest of the internet sometime before April 1.
That's the deadline for amendments to “sovereign internet” legislation that ostensibly will allow Russia to protect itself from foreign aggression in the digital sphere.
In particular, lawmakers are worried that Western accusations of Russian hacking could lead to retaliatory cyberattacks and are trying to develop a way to isolate the Russian internet on command.
The bill would require telecoms to be able to redirect all traffic through routing points controlled by the Russian state, giving it a brake on the flow of information to networks abroad.
But experts have said developing such sweeping capabilities, if not impossible, would at the very least be extremely expensive and could lead to major disruptions in the functioning of the internet.
There's also the threat of censorship, as the system will be monitored by the state communications oversight agency Roskomnadzor, which has become known for banning both extremist speech and criticism of the Kremlin. It will be able to filter out foreign content it doesn't like.
Last week, Google reportedly agreed to receive lists of sites banned by Roskomnadzor every day and to block some of them. So far, it's blocked three-fourths of the sites forbidden in Russia.'
Read more: Russia to disconnect its internet from rest of the world while it puts in protection measures
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