Russia disconnects from global internet in trial: spark fear Putin will tighten his grip on free speech in country’s cyberspace
- Tests involving Russia’s major telecommunications companies were conducted from June 15 to July 15.
- Preliminary results state that ‘runet’ was successful without any disruption
- Russia has laws that allow it to protect it from ‘aggressive’ foreign internet systems
Russia cut itself off the global internet during tests in June and July amid fears that Vladimir Putin would crack down on free speech, it has been revealed.
The country adopted a law known as the ‘Sovereign Internet’ law in late 2019, which seeks to protect the country from being cut off from foreign infrastructure.
It was implemented by Russia to counter the ‘aggressive nature’ of the US national cyber security strategy.
Russia cut itself off the global internet during tests in June and July amid fears that Vladimir Putin would take further action on free speech (pictured today)
The law tightened Moscow’s control over global networks and sparked panic among free speech activists who feared the move would strengthen government surveillance of the country’s cyberspace.
The tests involving all of Russia’s major telecommunications companies were conducted from June 15 to July 15 and were successful, according to preliminary results, the RBC daily reported on Thursday from documents from the Working Group on Improving Russia’s Internet Security. Reported citing.
“The purpose of the tests is to determine the ability of Runet to work in case of external distortions, blocks and other threats,” said the source.
Another RBC source said the ability to physically disconnect the Russian part of the Internet had been tested.
It was not immediately clear how long the disconnection lasted or whether there was any noticeable disruption to Internet traffic.
RBC said the law states that tests will be conducted every year, but that operations were halted in 2020 due to complications with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kremlin (pictured) knew about the tests, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling them at the time that Russia would have to be ready for anything
The Kremlin was aware of the tests, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, telling them at the time that Russia would have to be prepared for anything.
The law seeks to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and create a national domain name system so that the Internet can continue to function even when Russia is cut off.
In June 2019, Putin said that Moscow had to ensure that ‘Runet’ could function reliably to prevent servers outside Russia’s control in other countries from shutting down and compromising their operations.
State communications regulator Roskomnadzor said the tests were aimed at improving the integrity, stability and security of Russia’s Internet infrastructure, RBC reported.
It said the tool installed as part of the test had been used by Roskomnadzor to slow down the speed of the social network Twitter since March due to Moscow’s failure to remove illegal content.