What would happen if Russia will disconnect from the global Internet: the view from overseas


The global Internet infrastructure there is no Central authority. To make it work, everyone relies on everyone else. As a result, the global intertwining of submarine cables, satellites and other technologies that connect the world often ignores national borders on the map. To stay in the network, many countries have to rely on equipment beyond their own borders and control.

Countries-States periodically try to strengthen the power over their realm of the Internet, which can lead to blackouts. For example, last month the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo turned off my Internet during the controversial presidential elections. Russia now also wants to check if she can disconnect from the rest of the world — and the bill has already successfully passed the first hearing. However, Russia is much more democratic Republic of the Congo and infrastructure it is much more difficult. To cut itself wouldn’t be so simple, and unintended consequences will be many. In any case, even this project shows how confusing and strong the whole Internet.

But let’s see what do you think about this initiative over the ocean.

Russia disconnects from Internet: what people think on the West?

“While we saw only what to off the Internet much more difficult, if you have already built a stable Internet infrastructure,” says Andrew Sullivan, CEO of the Internet Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes the open development of the Internet.

As it became known, the Russian “test” the shutdown of the Internet will become part of the new bill proposed by the Parliament in December. The bill would require Internet providers to ensure the independence of the Runet. The regulation requires the presence of Internet service providers the technical means to disconnect from the rest of the world and redirect the Internet traffic through exchange points, operated by Roskomnadzor, the Russian Telecom regulator and the media. Our country wants to test the independence of the Runet as of April 1, so I guess the officials — although an official date has not been set, but the new regulations have not been adopted. It seems doubtful that in less than two months will have time to prepare.

The Internet was invented in the United States, and American companies now control much of the infrastructure which supports it. Perhaps Russia just wants to obtain more autonomy in relation to the Internet, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin could also try to build up forces in the area of cyber warfare or tighten censorship of online information available to citizens. Although the motives in the West is unclear, obviously, Russia was preparing for greater independence on the Internet. In fact, for the first time, disconnecting from the global network offered in 2014.

The process remains difficult. “In a nutshell, Russia will need to do two things: make sure that the content that you are looking for the Russians, is actually somewhere in the country; and to ensure that routing information exchanges occur in the country,” says Nicole Staroselsky, a Professor at new York University and author of ‘The Undersea Network’. Russia recently tried to pull something, and more. In 2014, a law was passed that required companies that collect personal information about Russian citizens to keep them inside the country. Sites that refused to comply with the requirement, such as LinkedIn have been blocked. Also, the country has developed its own alternative system of domain names, so to access Internet traffic and route it Russia now can own.

However, regardless of how many produced in Russia, unforeseen problems will almost certainly arise if a country tries to secede from the rest of the world. “I am absolutely sure that it will. Basic infrastructure may not stop, but that’s a risk they take,” says Paul Barford, Professor of computer networking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Providers of Internet services it is difficult to see how they are dependent on each element of infrastructure outside their boundaries. “Because of the complexity at all levels of the Protocol stack, where it can be catastrophic failures,” says Barford.

Even if disasters do not occur — for example, banks, hospitals, and aviation will continue to work — may fall many web sites. Most of the web pages you are using multiple servers which may be located in different parts of the world. For example, a news site may depend on a cloud server, Amazon Web Services, Analytics FOR Google plugin for comments Facebook and they all are located outside Russia. “Each web page consists of thousands of different things. If the site is in Russia, you need to know where it appears,” says expert Andrew bloom.

What about everyone else? Although the US is unlikely to suffer if Russia closes access to the global Network, verification can cause problems in other countries that are sending traffic through the country.

Trying to build a fully Autonomous Internet, according to Western observers, Russia generates a weaker. Global Internet works so well because of the traffic there are many detours — it is difficult to completely prevent leakage of information to the destination. For example, if between Europe and the United States will explode the submarine cable, the message will reach France by other means. Russia wants to build a system in which it will be able to consider alternative ways and wish to block them.

“It is a failure of the network. This is a new design that will make the Russian part of the Internet less reliable,” says Sullivan. “If you design the system so that it can be turned off, so this system can be switched off by accident.”

What do you think, will benefit Russia off from the global network? Tell us in our chat in Telegram.