Russia's internet iron curtain has been formally signed into law by President Putin. The nation's internet service providers have until 1 November to ensure they comply.
The law will force traffic through government-controlled exchanges and eventually require the creation of a national domain name system.
The bill has been promoted as advancing Russian sovereignty and ensuring Runet, Russia's domestic internet, remains functioning regardless of what happens elsewhere in the world. The government has claimed "aggressive" US cybersecurity policies justify the move.
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Control of exchanges is seen as an easy way for the Russian government to increase its control over what data its citizens can see, and what they can post. The Kremlin wants all data required by the network to be stored within Russian borders.
ISPs will only be allowed to connect to other ISPs, or peer, through approved exchanges. These exchanges will have to include government-supplied boxes which can block data traffic as required.
There have been widespread protests within the country against the law.
Human Rights Watch warned: "The bill gives control over Internet network routing to the state regulator for Telecommunications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, Roskomnadzor. It provides that ISPs should connect with other ISPs... at Internet exchange points (IXes) approved by the authorities, and that these IXes should not allow unapproved ISPs to peer. The bill would also create a centralised system of devices capable of blocking Internet traffic."
The group warned cross-border internet traffic would be closely controlled and any blocking would be non-transparent and extra judicial – the public would never know what, or why, content was blocked.
The bill states such action will be taken in case of a "security threat" but does not define what that means.
Russian ISPs will have to start using a state-approved Domain Name System by 1 January 2021.
Russia has long interfered with its citizens access to the internet: LinkedIn is banned, as are several messaging services and access to virtual private networks is severely restricted.
The Human Rights Watch statement is here. ®