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08:44 AM, September 26, 2019
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Russia to commence “Sovereign Internet” Project from November

A national internet access system to isolate Russia, in case of attacks or denial of international access due to sanctions, will come into test mode from November.

The country’s federal communications censorship agency, Roskomnadzor has already set up a center for monitoring and controlling general communications, and has begun installing corresponding equipment to kick-start the project starting November 1. It will be implemented fully from 2021.

“Devices to block network security threats are currently being installed on the networks of the primary telecommunications operators,” Aleksandr Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor, was quoted as saying by TASS on Tuesday.

Testing is scheduled to commence by the end of this month. Moscow-based internet providers will receive a letter from the agency instructing them to install these sovereign systems, as well as color schemes at the points where they are installed. Evaluation will go on until the end of October.

“We will test it for several weeks. A technical assessment will be conducted initially- does it influence the traffic? does it not influence the traffic? do all services work properly?” Zharov explained.

Testing in “combat mode” will follow technical assessment, he revealed.

The Russian ministries of communications and of foreign affairs were instructed to reach agreements with BRICS countries to create a de facto parallel internet – their own Domain Name System to “double up” the existing one, not controlled by international organizations, to protect Russian users from “targeted interference.”

Autonomous internet, restricted data to be shared with users abroad, strict control of traffic within Russia, expanding the functions of Roskomnadzor, all come under Moscow’s “On a sovereign internet” law, passed last year.

The law states that all traffic within Russia must pass through exchange points approved by Roskomnadzor. In order to do so, mobile operators and internet providers must install equipment on their networks which the censorship agency can use to interfere with the flow of traffic and block prohibited online resources.

The development is in tandem with what Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Novmber 2017. He ordered work pertaining to the development of autonomous internet control systems for Russia, to avoid the US’ dominance, to be accelerated. 

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