Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Russia is taking further steps towards a Splinternet

In context: Over the past two weeks, Russian netizens have found themselves increasingly deprived of online services like Facebook, Twitter, global news sites, and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, that could accelerate the Russian government’s plan to create a “sovereign Internet” and fundamentally change the way Russians connect to and access information from the rest of the world.

Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor forced Google this week to remove tens of thousands of search results that link to resources used by Russians to circumvent bans placed on certain news sites and social media platforms.

Internet users in the country have been flocking to VPN services to get access to restricted sources of information, with one analysis estimating that demand for the top 10 most popular VPN apps has surged by 1,092 percent between February 24 and March 9.

A different market research firm says that downloads across Google Play and Apple’s App Store for the past week totaling over 4.6 million — a 4,375 percent surge compared to the week before the start of the military conflict in Ukraine.

While the uptick in demand for VPNs isn’t unexpected, Russian authorities are already taking steps to enforce the Internet blockade. They have yet to ban VPN use, but they’ve ordered Google to remove thousands of VPN-related URLs from its search results, and the number of requests is increasing every day.

Over the past few years, Russia has been exploring ways to build what it calls a “sovereign internet,” where authorities can block VPN traffic at the network level, censor the “internal Internet,” and even cut it off from the outside world. Recently, the Russian state created its own domestic analog of a trusted TLS certificate authority to aid its efforts to intercept encrypted web traffic.

Of course, the deep level of internet traffic monitoring and filtering envisioned by Russia is a massive undertaking that won’t be possible overnight. But the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and the barrage of sanctions levied by Western governments and companies has only accelerated plans to disentangle Russia’s Internet sphere from the rest of the world.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

2022 03 10 image 26

Image: christiaan colen

US-based Internet providers like Cogent have started cutting off Russian customers who rely on them to direct their data flows through the backbone of the Internet, presumably for fear of enabling state-sponsored cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. Companies like Cloudflare, that try to speed up the web and defend it from various types of threats, believes shutting off all service in the country isn’t the best idea if the goal is to enable Russian citizens to see past the propaganda.

Either way, it’s only getting harder for online tech firms to decide how — or if — they want to manage the information flow. Leaving Russia altogether will allow its government to centralize network control and lead to further fragmentation of the Internet. That phenomenon, also known as the “Splinternet,” would deprive Russian citizens of a powerful tool for sharing information, fighting misinformation, and connecting with people who have a different view of the world.

The Russian Ministry for Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media has maintained that there are no plans to disconnect Russia from the rest of the Internet. However, its “sovereign Internet” legislation does allow the Roskomnadzor to intervene in how Russia’s ecosystem of over 5,000 autonomous networks communicates with the global Internet — and that includes fully disconnecting its homegrown RuNet from it if deemed necessary.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Online Business Success

Chris Clark is CEO of GBG, the experts in digital identity. getty “Trust has to be your highest value in your company, and if...

Loan And Finance

Hit songwriters Carl Falk Gramer and Savan Kotecha have invested in Swedish sound technology company Audiodo. Audiodo claims to have developed audio tech that...

Loan And Finance

We’re all feeling the squeeze of the current economic outlook with inflation driving up consumer costs at an 8.3% inrease in the past year,...

Online Business Success

Ronjini Joshua is the Founder and CEO of The Silver Telegram, Writer and Host of The PR Playbook Podcast and The Green Room Podcast....

Online Business Success

Anne Solhaug Tutar is a Partner at Antler, a global early stage investment firm, and former founder of health food startup Future Foods. getty...

Top Stories

Transfer between custodied and non-custodied accounts can now take place within the Solflare wallet Source link


You May Also Like


Introductions get a lot of attention. I’ve explored the topic of how to write them even though as a reader, I always skip them....

Online Business Success

The internet is now our nervous system. We are constantly streaming and buying and watching and liking, our brains locked into the global information...

SEO Guide

There are all kinds of pictures of the world on the internet, but to find one of these specific pictures that you want to...

Online Business Success

You can think of link building in many ways. I like to call it tedious, painful, and a test of patience. It’s also necessary...