Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russian lawmakers pass first draft of Internet-isolation legislation

Russian lawmakers pass first draft of Internet-isolation legislation

However, it is unclear from the original Russian report if internet providers will actually disconnect the internet in Russia as a part of these tests.

"Theoretically, the U.S has the ability to cut off Russia's Internet connectivity from outside, but there is no precedent to trace worldwide", said the team leader of Ru-center, one of Russia's largest domain name registrars and hosting providers.

The rather odd decision by Vladimir Putin's country to prepare to close off its internet connections from the outside world comes in response to what local news agency RosBiznesKonsalting* (RBK) described as a new draft law "on a sustainable Runet".

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.

In 2017, officials said 95 percent of all internet traffic will be routed locally by 2020.

Senior Russian officials have expressed increasing alarm that some form of disconnection may be forced upon them.

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Roskomnadzor would reportedly pay for the installation of whatever tools are necessary under this plan-meaning the Russian government would pay for a new infrastructure that will give it more control over the internet within the country, allowing Russia to get closer to the kind of internet regulation that exists under the Great Firewall of China.

The bill, co-authored by Andrei Lugovoi - one of the main suspects in the 2006 murder of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in the United Kingdom - passed its first reading in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday by 334 votes to 47.

The effort is meant to ensure the country can operate online in the event that it becomes isolated by foreign powers. "In this situation we should be thinking how to grow potatoes in a nuclear winter, and not about the internet".

The Russian government has been working on this project for years.

"Also through this equipment, Roskomnadzor will block resources prohibited in Russian Federation (now operators do it themselves)", RBK reported.

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