The Russian parliament has approved a law creating a separate, domestic network [dw.com], separate from the Internet. This Russian network of networks will be fully isolatable and will mean that the country's communications will become autonomous and able to continue functioning even when the plug is pulled on Russia's connections to the Internet at large. Concerns increase that this move will be used more for control of content and even just plain censorship, and make any attempts at circumventing restrictions much more difficult. The law is expected to take effect November 1st. Russia has already banned certain programs, such as Telegram.
One of the law's goals is to keep as much of the data exchanged between Russian internet users within the country's borders as possible. This aim may sound like a move to protect Russian users from external threats, but rights groups have warned that the new measures could ultimately be directed at Kremlin critics rather than international adversaries.
The idea of increasing the government's control over the internet is part of a more long-term national policy trend. In 2017, officials said they wanted 95% of internet traffic to be routed locally by 2020. Since 2016, a law has required social networks to store data about Russian users on servers within the country. The law was officially presented as an anti-terrorism measure — but many criticized it as an attempt to control online platforms that can be used to organize anti-government demonstrations.
Also at Silicon: Russian Parliament Passes Bill To Isolate Internet [silicon.co.uk].