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Cyberbalkanization and the Future of the Internet

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Cyberbalkanization and the Future of the Internet

Postby MrFredPFL » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:12 am

Story :

On May 1, 2019, Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed into law what is generally known as the Sovereign Internet law. It came into effect on November 1, 2019, and is ostensibly designed as a defensive mechanism against any foreign attempts -- namely U.S. -- to harm the Russian internet by cutting access to foreign (non-Russian) servers.

In principle, the concept is relatively simple. Russia will establish its own shadow Russia-only DNS system. Under duress, or on-demand, Russian ISPs would be instructed to switch to the alternative DNS. This would ensure that all Russia-to-Russia communications never leave Russian territory, and a Russian national internet would be protected. Of course, it also means that all internal communication can be more easily intercepted, and that Russian citizens could be prevented from visiting selected websites in the rest of the world.

While pitched as a purely defensive option, it is widely seen as another example of the increasing balkanization, to one degree or another, of the world wide web; that is, the tendency for national governments to isolate, or protect, their country and citizens from the rest of the world. In this, Russia joins China, North Korea, Iran, and surprisingly but to currently a lesser extent, the United Kingdom.

While balkanization is the effect, national isolation is the process. We need to know why and how individual countries are isolating themselves from the internet to understand whether widespread balkanization is the future for the world wide web.

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