Rights activists unhappy with idea of cutting Russia off global Internet

A new possible plan of disconnecting Russia from the global Internet has become the most discussed news in social networks

Russian human rights campaigners are troubled by reports about a new possible plan of disconnecting Russia from the global Internet in the event of an emergency.

"I am really concerned about it. But the only encouraging thing is that, according to some experts, complete disconnection is technically impossible," Civil Support committee head Svetlana Gannushkina told Interfax on Friday.

"It would lead to isolation," For Human Rights movement leader Lev Ponomaryov told Interfax.

"It is the path of Iran and North Korea. Even China would never agree to it," Ponomaryov said.

The Vedomosti newspaper reported on Friday that the Communications and Mass Media Ministry had formulated a concept of disconnecting Russia from the global network. According to the newspaper, the results of the ministry's analysis showed that the Russian Internet is vulnerable, prompting discussions on ways to minimize possible risks, including by temporarily cutting Russia off the global Internet.

Vedomosti said that there is no discussion of permanently blocking access to the global Internet. However, Russian Internet operators will have to adjust their equipment in order to allow the Russian Internet to be promptly disconnected from the global network in the event of an emergency.

According to the newspaper's source, "such emergencies could be hostilities, as well as, for example, major protests inside the country."

For his part, Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media Alexei Volin has said that he knows nothing of such a concept.

"I know nothing about it, but I cannot speak on behalf of the entire ministry," Volin told Interfax on Friday.

The country's media watchdog (Roskomnadzor) also denied any knowledge of these initiatives.

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