Russia will test its so-called ‘sovereign Internet’ on Monday to determine the reliability of domestic internet infrastructure in the event that the country is disconnected from the worldwide web, the country’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media communications ministry has said, according to Reuters.
The threat testing will not affect regular internet users, the ministry said on Thursday.
In November, the law known as the “sovereign internet” bill, aimed at tightening state control over the network, came into force in Russia. Free speech activists say the law will strengthen government oversight of the country’s cyberspace.
The legislation aims to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and to build a national Domain Name System, which would end the country’s dependence on systems from abroad, which Russia fears could be shut down by a foreign government.
The law was developed in response to what Russia calls the “aggressive nature” of the United States’ national cybersecurity strategy, which accuses Moscow of carrying out hacking attacks, as a means to ensure the internet continues functioning in Russia.
According to the law, all communications operators, messengers, and email providers must participate in the tests, as well as state-run institutions and security services.
At his annual news conference with journalists on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin insisted that a free internet and a sovereign internet did not contradict one another.
“The law is aimed at just one thing – preventing negative consequences of being disconnected from the global network, the management of which is mostly abroad,” he said. “We are not moving towards closing the internet and do not intend to do so.”