Russia has enacted the internet sovereignty bill allowing the authorities to unplug the national internet network from the global landscape in the event of foreign threats.
In accordance with the new legislation, operators will be required to install controlling equipment on their networks; the equipment will be provided by the state. This will give the Roskomnadzor state regulator more powers to manage the networks. The law was signed by the Russian President in May 2019, RIA Novosti reports.
Experts argue that various countries are gradually adopting the idea of “islanding” the internet. According to Artyom Kalikhov, Chief Product Officer at Waves Enterprise, the law is primarily aimed at protecting the Russian-language section of the internet in case it is disconnected from the global web, not at isolating it. At the same time, the expert believes such a disconnection unlikely. The global network is comprised of autonomous segments, which are divided between providers. If one of the systems is shut down, traffic will go through other systems.
Albert Oskanov, CEO of the Oskelly marketplace, is concerned that the law could provoke network disruptions. As a result, companies operating online can incur losses.
Arseny Shcheltsin, Director General of the autonomous non-profit organization Digital Platforms, said the new law could increase the cost of services provided via the internet, as well as reduce their quality, adding that dialogue needs to be established between IT companies and the regulator to avoid these threats.