Russia Threatens to Build its own Internet
Russia cites “The increased capabilities of western countries to carry out offensive operations in information space, and their willingness to use them.” as the reason for creating its own exclusive BRICS net.
The Russian Security Council has revealed plans to build an ‘independent internet’ for exclusive use of the so-called BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
This exclusive net, as reported by state-backed news organisation RT, has been proposed by Russia to protect itself from the ‘offensive operations’ of Western Countries.
According to RT, the Security Council last discussed the plans at a meeting in October, where President Vladimir Putin personally set a deadline of August 1, 2018 for the completion of the task.
More precisely, the Russian Government aims to create an exclusive alternative to the globally-used Domain Name System, which acts as a bridge between devices and their website when connecting. This new network would operate independent of control of the world’s domain name system – the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), based in California.
In practice, ‘backup’ servers would be placed in BRICS countries, and be reserved exclusively for their use.
The Russian Government is likely seriously considering the proposals. In 2014, the Russian Communications Ministry successfully conducted a major exercise in which it simulated the ‘switching off’ of global internet services and defaulted to a Russian backup system – successfully maintaining web operations inside the country.
However, when reporters at the time questioned Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov if the country’s authorities were considering disconnecting from the global net, Peskov dismissed those allegations as false. Peskov told the Interfax news agency: “Russia’s disconnection from the global internet is of course out of the question”.
However, Peskov also noted: “Recently, a fair share of unpredictability is present in the actions of our partners both in the US and the EU, and we [Russia] must be prepared for any turn of events.
“We all know who the chief administrator of the global internet is. And due to its volatility, we have to think about how to ensure our national security.”
In a policy document authenticated by Russian media agency RBC, the rationale for setting up this system is: “The increased capabilities of western countries to carry out offensive operations in information space, and their willingness to use them.” To this, it adds the, “dominance of the US and several EU countries in matters of internet control,” as further justification for creating the alternative network.
The news comes just two weeks after the country was accused of meddling in Scottish politics after researchers from the University of Swansea found that nearly 400,000 botted tweets from unclear origin had been made between May of last year and September this year. Just prior to this, an official document acquitted by The Times indicated that the EU was considering classing cyber-attacks as ‘acts of war’, in response to further accusations of Russian interference in western politics.
In response to Russia’s justification of Western information offensives against the East to set up a private network, Technologist Peter Singer told tech news blog Defense One: “There is a deep irony in Russia citing the increased capabilities of Western nations doing attacks in the informational space. It is like the fake social media account of the pot calling the kettle fake.”