Global RiskNews Briefs

Russia Inches Toward Its Splinternet Dream

Just a few weeks ago, Russian Twitter users noticed that they were unable to access the platform. An internet blackout subsequently occurred, leading security professionals to believe that Russia is getting closer to achieving its splinternet goal. Creating a splinternet would effectively detach the country from the rest of the world’s internet infrastructure, allowing it to implement tighter controls and crack down on dissent. Twitter going offline was a message from Russia in how seriously the state is taking social media’s role in amplifying dissent, especially towards the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is likely modeling its internet goals after the digital walled gardens in China, which has managed to separate itself from the rest of the digital world. Although individuals still find their way around the Great Firewall, it makes it easier for the country to control discussions among its residents and limit their access to material originating from other countries. However, achieving this feat was not an easy task, as it required tech experts to create its version of the internet and was very costly. The Great Firewall inspects every piece of internet traffic entering Chinese cyberspace and checks it against a block list, allowing the country to control what its residents are viewing, sharing, and communicating. Having taken steps to achieve this goal, Russia is slowly moving towards a Great Firewall of its own.

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