Russia Plans To Temporarily Disconnect Entire Country From Internet Before April

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Officials will use the test to gather information and provide feedback on a proposed law introduced by the state in December 2018, according to Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK).

A draft law called the Digital Economy National Program was introduced to parliament previous year that would force all state internet providers to re-route internet traffic through exchange points managed by Russia's telecommunications regulator, Roskomndazor.

Roskomnazor will inspect the traffic to block prohibited content and make sure traffic between Russian users stays inside the country, and is not re-routed uselessly through servers overseas, where it could be intercepted.

According to a report from Russian news site RBC, the planned disconnection is meant to examine whether the country run by Vladimir Putin is prepared for a draft law that mandates a "sovereign" internet.

Although no exact date has been set for the test it is due to happen before 1 April.

The disconnect experiment is being overseen by Russia's Information Security Working Group; its members include Natalya Kaspersky, the co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, which has faced backlash overseas over allegations that the Russian government used Kaspersky Lab products to spy on computers.

Russia has tried, so far with extremely limited success, to block Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging service, but its use continues to be widespread, including among some senior Russian government officials who are reported to use VPNs to circumvent the ban.

The government wants this ability to ensure they can protect their Internet assets from foreign aggression and be able to route all traffic internally.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations recently said they planned to hit Russian Federation with a stronger response to its own cyber attacks.

The Russian government is planning to temporarily shut down the Russian internet.

The proposed law, fully endorsed by President Putin, is expected to pass.

By carrying out this test, Russian Federation is believed to be one step closer to a situation in which all domestic internet service providers will have to direct data through state-controlled routers.

Russia's Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday gave tentative approval to draft legislation for the country to instate measures to isolate itself from the global internet.

The concept appears similar to China's Great Firewall, which regulates internet operations in view of reinforcing national sovereignty.

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