• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Russia takes further steps towards a Splinternet


Mar 11, 2022
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In context, in the past two weeks, Russian internet users have become increasingly deprived of online services such as Facebook, Twitter, global news sites and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, that could accelerate the Russian government’s plan to create a “sovereign internet” and fundamentally change the way Russians connect and access information from the rest of the world.

Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor this week forced Google to remove tens of thousands of search results linking to resources used by Russians to circumvent bans on certain news sites and social media platforms.

Internet users in the country are flocking to VPN services to access limited resources, with one analysis estimating that demand for the top 10 most popular VPN apps increased by 1,092 percent between February 24 and March 9.

Another market research firm says the number of downloads via Google Play and Apple’s App Store totaled more than 4.6 million last week – a 4,375 percent increase compared to the week before the start of the military conflict in Ukraine.

While the increase in demand for VPNs is not unexpected, Russian authorities are already taking steps to enforce the internet blockade. They have yet to ban the use of VPN, but they have ordered Google to remove thousands of VPN-related URLs from search results, and the number of requests is increasing every day.

In recent years, Russia has been exploring ways to build what it calls a “sovereign internet” where authorities can block VPN traffic at the network level, censor the “internal internet” and even cut it off from the outside world. Recently, the Russian state has created its own domestic analogue of a trusted TLS certificate authority to support its efforts to intercept encrypted web traffic.

Of course, the in-depth level of monitoring and filtering of Internet traffic that Russia envisions is a huge undertaking that will not be possible overnight. But Ukraine’s ongoing military conflict and the barrage of sanctions imposed by Western governments and corporations have only accelerated plans to separate the Russian internet sphere from the rest of the world.

Image: Christiaan Colen

US-based ISPs like Cogent have begun shutting down Russian customers who rely on it to route their data streams through the Internet’s backbone, presumably for fear of enabling state-sponsored cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns. Companies like Cloudflare, which are trying to speed up the internet and defend it against various kinds of threats, believe that shutting down all services in the country isn’t the best idea if the goal is to empower Russian citizens beyond the propaganda. to watch.

Either way, it’s only getting harder for online tech companies to decide how — or so — they want to manage the flow of information. Leaving Russia altogether will allow the government to centralize network control and further fragment the internet. That phenomenon, dubbed the “Splinternet,” would deprive Russian citizens of a powerful tool to share information, fight misinformation and connect with people with different worldviews.

The Russian Ministry of Digital Technology, Communications and Mass Media has maintained that there are no plans to disconnect Russia from the rest of the internet. However, its “sovereign internet” legislation allows the Roskomnadzor to intervene in the way Russia’s ecosystem of more than 5,000 autonomous networks communicates with the global internet – meaning it completely disconnects its own RuNet from it if it does. deemed necessary.

This post Russia takes further steps towards a Splinternet

was original published at “https://www.techspot.com/news/93732-russia-taking-further-steps-towards-splinternet.html”

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