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Dennis Broeders on Russian autonomous internet (NOS)

Russia is planning to protect its own internet against attacks from the Western enemy. President Putin recently signed a law for autonomous internet as a kick off. Critics are worried that the law will mainly be used to oppress the opposition within Russia itself. Dennis Broeders, Associate Professor of Security and Technology at Leiden University, gave his expert opinion on the matter in an article that was published on the Dutch news agency NOS’ website on 4 June.

Autonomous Russian internet

At the moment, Russian internet has no regard for national borders. Information is send by the quickest means without interference of governments or overseers using the most efficient route. Russia is now trying to change this and to get a grip on what information is being send and by which means. It wants to create protection along the lines of its national borders. By forcing data providers make use of special equipment the internet traffic can be supervised. Thus creating an autonomous Russian internet.

Internet and territorial boundaries

According to Broeders, internet was created in a way that has nothing to do with territorial boundaries as we know them today. ‘We only depend on the internet because the internet is so important today, because it’s in every fibre of our society and in every fibre of our economy.’ That is the reason why more and more countries, and not only countries such as China or Russia, are wondering how they can uphold the way we have partitioned the world in terms of states on the internet.

No protection against actual threats

According to Broeders, the law is predominantly a means for Russia to show its sovereignty. ‘It doesn’t really work against actual threats but is definitely a way to show: Russia is a sovereign country. We will create our own internet and by doing so distance ourselves from any American architecture. We are creating something on our own.’

To read the full article: click here (Dutch).

This article is based on an episode of Dutch national television programme ‘Nieuwsuur’ (starts at 2.07).

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