Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), has started installing the equipment which will isolate Runet, the Russian segment of the Internet, from the rest of the world if the country’s authorities see a threat to its ‘stability’.
By the end of September, a pilot project on testing the equipment will have been launched, Roskomnadzor Head Alexander Zharov said at a forum in Sochi. All major Russian mobile providers are expected to participate in it.
The tests will last for several weeks. An ‘operational readiness test’ is also set to be carried out.
In April, the deputies of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament adopted in the third and final reading amendments to the laws ‘On Telecommunication’ and ‘On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection’, which are commonly known as ‘the law on the autonomy (isolation) of the Russian segment of the Internet’.
The amendments provided for measures to ensure the functioning of the Runet in the conditions of disconnecting from global servers. The draft bill was presented to the State Duma at the end of 2018. In their explanation, its authors said that they had taken cognizance of ‘aggressive nature’ of the US national cyber security concept. The project offered an opportunity to minimize sending abroad the data which Russian users exchange among themselves, the authors promised. Many Russians fear that the initiative might contribute to creating a kind of ‘iron curtain’ on the web.
The ‘isolation’ law will come into force on November 1, 2019; while its certain provisions (those on cryptographic protection of information and on the national domain name system) will become effective on January 1, 2021.
In March, a number of rallies in defense of free Internet were held in several Russian cities.