(CyberWar.news) In recent weeks, the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin experimented with sealing the country off from the World Wide Web as part of a wider effort to control the flow of information in much the way the communist regime in China does, the UK’s Telegraph reported.
The paper said that, according to a senior industry executive, Russian officials ran tests that that have been described by experts as preparations from an information blackout in the event of political disorder.
Andrei Semerikov, general director of a Russian service provider called Er Telecom, claims that Russian Ministry of Communications officials and Roskomnadzor, the national government’s Internet regulator, ordered communications hubs operated by the country’s primary Internet telecoms to block traffic to foreign communications channels using a traffic control mechanism called DPI (Deep Packet Inspection).
Officials told the paper that the objective was to see if Runet – an informal name for the Russian Internet – would continue to function after isolating the country from the rest of the world.
The paper said the experiment took place in the spring, but it failed after officials found that thousands of smaller Internet services, over which Roskomnadzor has little control, were able to continue passing information out of the country.
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“Smaller providers account for over 50 per cent of the market in some Russian regions, generally lack the DPI technology used by the larger companies to implement the blocking orders, and often use satellite connections that cannot be easily blocked,” The Telegraph reported.
Russian officials have denied that any such experiment was conducted. A spokesman for Roskomnadzor was quoted by the paper as saying “there was not such [sic] experiment.”
However, the reported spring experiment follows a similar one held in July 2014 when security officials with Russia’s Federal Security Service, the interior ministry, the defense ministry and others collaborated with the national telecom in Russia to see if a nationwide intranet made up of specific, Russia-oriented domain names like .ru would continue to function if cut off from wider portions of the Internet.
The Telegraph reported that the test was ordered personally by Putin.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia’s security services and the co-author of a new book about the Kremlin’s internet security policy and eavesdropping practices, said that Russia was using Western sanctions that have affected Internet service in Crimea as a “pretext” for the exercises to test whether Russia’s Internet could operate independently of other countries.
“This is actually just one of a series of such experiments, and it gives us a very good idea of what they have in mind. If you look at the doctrine of information security, it is all about the same thing: the fear of Western countries using the Internet as an instrument of influence in Russia and so on,” he told the Telegraph.
As reported by Natural News, Congress was considering legislation that would give the federal government the authority to essentially throw an “Internet kill switch” during a terrorist attack or other domestic incident.
“This (bill) is all about control, an attempt to control every aspect of our existence,” said Christopher Feudo, a cybersecurity expert and chairman of SecurityFusion Solutions, an internet security consulting firm. “I consider it an attack on our personal right of free speech. Look what recently occurred in Egypt.”
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