Russia Considers Building a Garden Wall

February 14, 2018

In a move that could presage the future of the internet, Russia is considering a walled garden for itself and its fellow BRICS members; TechDirt reports, “Russia Says Disconnecting From the Rest of the Net ‘Out of the Question,’ but Wants Alternative DNS Servers for BRICS Nations.” We learn it was the Russian Security Council that recommended its government develop this infrastructure, proposing the creation of a separate, independent DNS backup system. The write-up observes:

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is the following comment by Putin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov: ‘Russia’s disconnection from the global internet is of course out of the question,’ Peskov told the Interfax news agency. However, the official also emphasized that ‘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.’ That offers a pragmatic recognition that disconnection from the global Internet is no longer an option for a modern state, even if Iran begs to differ. It’s true that local DNS servers provide resilience, but they also make it much easier for a government to limit access to foreign sites by ordering their IP addresses to be blocked — surely another reason for the move.

The “unpredictability” of the US and Europe? That’s a bit rich. We’re reminded Russia has been trying to localize control over parts of the Internet since at least 2012, and it looks like its fellow BRICS members may be supportive.

Cynthia Murrell, February 14, 2018

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