Russia's Communications Ministry and internet watchdog Roskomnadzor have specified a list of threats that would cause them to cut Russia off from the internet, the agency said posting the proposal online on May 28.
The proposal follows the introduction of the so-called Yarovaya law, approved by President Vladimir Putin on May 1, that tightens regulation over the internet and demands companies store their data on Russia’s territory. Critics claim the law will allow the Kremlin to censor content on the internet. This is the first time the country's government has clarified the legislation, which has been slammed by rights activists.
The ministry lists three types of threats that would trigger the cutting of ties that include: a threat to the network's "integrity", explained as the ability to safeguard connections between users; a threat to its resilience through the failure of certain equipment or the occurrence of a natural disaster; and a threat to the network's security, via a hacking attack on service providers' equipment or an instance when the network is subjected to "destabilising internal or external informational pressure," reports RFE/RL.
The proposal would give Roskomnadzor the power to take control of the internet without giving prior notice to providers in cases when "an urgent reaction" is needed.
Under threat from US sanctions, the Russian government has introduced a number of new systems that duplicate international services that are effectively under Washington’s control and could be used to punish Russia. In banking, in order to avoid the threat of being cut off from the SWIFT international payments system Russia set up its own payment system called MIR that went online several years ago and has also been adopted by China.
MTS, Russia's largest network provider, announced on May 23 that it was taking part in a series of government tests relating to deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, which will be used by Roskomnadzor should it be called upon to monopolise control over the country's web.