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Russia wants to create its own Internet

The protests broke out, and the Internet in Ingushetia collapsed. Thousands had gathered in front of the Parliament in Magas to protest against the new border

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Russia wants to create its own Internet

The protests broke out, and the Internet in Ingushetia collapsed. Thousands had gathered in front of the Parliament in Magas to protest against the new border with Chechnya. The people pitched tents, and as with prayer for Friday on the square, knelt, prayed for the security forces. Images not seen in Moscow for sure and not spread as quickly through social media. The people in Ingushetia were not able to upload photos and Videos. The provider had turned off the 3G and 4G Service in the Region for two weeks, because the Russian censorship authority wanted it that way.

You can look at this as a test run. Preferably, the entire network would the Kremlin probably any can turn on and off. The law on "sovereign Internet" could be a step in that direction. This will allow the Kremlin, the Russian Runet from the Rest of the world to decouple. The Russian Parliament voted on Thursday in the second and crucial reading with a large majority for the law. In the future of the Russian Internet traffic should be directed through the Server in their own country. The law requires all Russian Internet providers, but also other service providers to install special equipment on their servers. How this looks like and what it can do, has not been described precisely.

The media Supervisory authority Roskomnadsor is now to control everything from a Central. Then the operators no longer are responsible to lock in Russia unwanted pages. The authority would not take, to not only control, but also to block.

But you can really build a digital wall to Russia's borders? Experts doubt that. The Kremlin argues with the defense of cyber attacks from abroad. In addition, Russia had to be prepared, if the US wanted to exclude from the global network only. So far, never cut off a country intentionally. Nevertheless, now the Russian Internet traffic has to run only on Russian Server.

Kremlin tried to control

The law-maker to bring the Internet under control, "because they believe that this control belongs to you," says Alexander Isawnin of Roskomswoboda, a group of activists for Internet freedom. As there was only the telephone and television, was Monitoring easier. However, as the Internet was, would not understand the authorities. "You can do a lot of damage," says Isawnin. "But you will not succeed to block the content completely."

It is not only censorship, but also to infrastructure. With the law, the Kremlin wants to co-decide better of how data flows through the country. And maybe not the whole country disconnect, but the individual regions such as Ingushetia. "That's a pretty brutal thing," says Andrei Soldatow, author of the book "The Red Web". He believes that the Kremlin wants to prevent that the Internet brings people on the street.

In Moscow, it was in the middle of March the new law, which has nearly 15000 people to Protest for a free Internet. The messenger service Telegram, had sent invitations to. Opposition politician Alexei Navalny has called on Twitter to participate. "People from the past to fight against our future", was one of the slogans of the Demo. The police was prepared. They had cordoned off the area in front of the metal detectors at the entrance and queues formed. The guards searched every bag, confiscated protest signs that had nothing to do with the subject of the Internet, but the government is generally criticised.

The Internet is the place to be in Russia, where the Opposition still works most likely.

Since 2012, there is a black list for unwanted Internet sites. Initially harmful to minors were on the end of Sites, later content, which the authorities classified as extremist or inciting illegal protests. The rules are formulated so vaguely that they are unsettling and almost arbitrary, can be used. According to the activist group Roskomswoboda more than 160'000 Sites are currently blocked.

people will be punished, because they share the wrong music on social media, the annexation of Crimea to criticize or to the Church offend. A 19-Year-old arrested because he had posted a picture with a "Game of Thrones"character in Jesus-Pose. Recently, the President signed two additional laws. They prohibit false messages ("unreliable information"), and "outspoken respect-faux pas" to society, public officials, state symbols. Also, this formulation is so vague that no one can know when he exceeds probably a limit.

the Internet is the place to be in Russia, where the Opposition still works most likely. As an example, the domestic sought secret service, the FSB, to prevent almost every concert of the Kremlin-critical Band Ic3Peak, heard more and more people find the Songs on Youtube. The group became a Symbol of protest. Critical TV stations migrate to the Internet, movies, not cinema license, to celebrate the Youtube Premiere. "The main objective of the government is to block the Opposition, so they will create more and more laws in order to achieve this," says Alexander Isawnin.

Internet giants fight back hardly

The Internet experts Soldatow, the reaction of the Russian Internet has surprised giants such as Yandex and mail.ru on the new law. "For many years we thought that the Russian Internet business, was developing independently from the Kremlin and the largest companies were proud of their independence," he says. Now, where the government wants to take over the costs for the new System, there is hardly any great resistance. The equivalent of about 510 million Swiss francs are planned for the System. Experts estimate that it could be more expensive. The law will be adopted in the second reading, the third as a matter of form. Then the President must sign. The protests in Ingushetia on hold meanwhile. The Internet works, but unreliable. Recently, it was three days.

Many experts were, according to Russia's announcement, agree: The Internet of a country from the Rest of the world live in a bubble, could not so simply work. While Russian suppliers have copied many in the West, important web services – the Google-clone Yandex, the social network of V-contacts, and many emails will be sent by mail.ru . However, the Internet consists of far more than this surface, says Christoph Meinel, a Professor of Internet systems at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam. In the Background of many small wheels which ensure that the Russians (and the Rest of the world) on your devices to see the get what you want to rotate. And currently, many of these important cogs turning outside of Russia.

As the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS-Server to translate the Internet users typed in the addresses, so about www.facebook.com in a numeric IP address. In the case of Facebook such an address, for example: 185.60.216.35. Without this DNS-address books, Browser does not know in Russia, where you have to send a request when a user Facebook.com typing.

the Internet-to build infrastructure such as DNS or Certificate, would be extremely time-consuming and expensive.

A second major Problem for the Russian autonomy needs are certificates. Almost all of the Internet traffic is sent via https Connections. The "s" stands for "secure", contents will be encrypted. This is especially important when Internet banking is. The integrity of the messages is guaranteed by Certificate, the check, whether there, where "savings Bank" written on it, also a savings Bank. An Internet infrastructure such as DNS or Certificate to build, would be extremely time-consuming and expensive. Also for the Russian economy, which uses many web services from abroad, would be a Russian Internetexit fatal.

Russian President Putin established the "Sovereign Internet"law, according to media reports, with the desire to cyber-security. But don't be add on the desired insulation, Georg Carle, a computer science Professor for network architectures and services at TU München. The have not shown recently, the case of Stuxnet, a Virus in an Iranian uranium enrichment plant was brought, without that this was connected to the Internet.

If it is, but rather to monitor the Internet traffic, then there are far cheaper methods. That the Chinese show for years with their great Firewall. Theoretically, the Internet remains out of Chinese computers. What may see the citizens but indeed, be decided by the state. To bypass such a Firewall can only be by using special Software, the so-called Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which direct the Internet traffic via a detour to the desired destination. The use of the most of VPN is illegal in Russia, however, already in November 2017.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 13.04.2019, 07:20 PM

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