Inside the Russian test to “unplug” from internet

Feb 12, 2019, 1:54 AM EST
(Source: Pierre-Selim/flickr)
(Source: Pierre-Selim/flickr)

Russia is considering cutting itself off from the global internet temporarily as part of an experiment designed to weigh the potency of the country’s digital infrastructure and cyber-defenses in case foreign cyberattacks attempt to isolate the Runet, or Russian Internet.

“Unplugging” the entire nation from the global internet would mean that the information exchange between its citizens and organizations takes place through “routing points” that are located within the Russian borders instead of some international site as current system works, writes the BBC.

The idea of the test emerges from a draft law introduced last year, known as the Digital Economy National Program, reports New York Magazine.

The experiment also smacks of the government’s intention to have an absolute control over domestic internet traffic and to exercise mass censorship. With the internet’s routing points under its control, as is the case in China, Russia would be able to scrub out foreign traffic to the content it wants to protect or hide while also blocking domestic users from accessing outside data.