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Russia Is Planning to Disconnect from the Internet to Test Its Web Traffic Filtering System

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Russia is reportedly planning to disconnect from the global internet as part of an upcoming cyber security test.

According to ZDNet, the test will involve all Russian internet traffic being re-routed through exchange points that are either approved or managed by Roskomnadzor – the Russian telecommunications watchdog. These exchange points will filter out prohibited content and data that is sent outside the country while allowing non-prohibited content that is sent between Russians. The exchange points will also ensure that data sent between Russians is not re-routed through international servers.

This test comes in response to a draft law called the Digital Economy National Program which was introduced into the Russian Parliament in December 2018 and requires Russian internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure they can operate independently in the event of a foreign cyber attack aimed at the country’s internet. The test will be used to gather feedback and propose modifications to this law. The law and this test are part of Russia’s wider plan to route 95% of internet traffic locally by 2020.

No date has been set for this test but its expected to take place before April 1 because this is the deadline for submitting amendments to the Digital Economy National Program draft law.

The law has the full support of President Putin and is expected to pass. If it does pass, Russian ISPs will need to demonstrate that they can re-direct data to Roskomnadzor approved or managed exchange points and Russia will finish building an internal domain name system (DNS) which will allow the internet to operate in the country, even if links to international servers are cut.

This test and the pending law is the latest in a long line of attempts by government bodies to gain greater control of the internet. The web traffic filtering system is eerily similar to Article 13 of the European Union (EU) Copyright Directive which if passed in its current form, would require all online platforms to install upload filters.

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