Russia Will Build Its Own Internet Directory, Citing US Information Warfare

Russia Will Build Its Own Internet Directory, Citing US Information Warfare (Source Defense One)

The Russian government will build an “independent internet” for use by itself, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa — the so-called BRICS nations — “in the event of global internet malfunctions,” the Russian news site RT reported on Tuesday. More precisely, Moscow intends to create an alternative to the global Domain Name System, or DNS, the directory that helps the browser on your computer or smartphone connect to the website server or other computer that you’re trying to reach. The Russians cited national security concerns, but the real reason may have more to do with Moscow’s own plans for offensive cyber operations.

According to RT, the Russian Security Council discussed the idea during its October meeting, saying that “the increased capabilities of western nations to conduct offensive operations in the informational space as well as the increased readiness to exercise these capabilities pose a serious threat to Russia’s security.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has set a date of August 1, 2018, to complete the alternative DNS. Why are they doing it? Russia, along with China, has long pushed for national governments to assert more control over the DNS and net governance in general, via the UN International Telecommunication Union, or ITTU. Then, as now, the Russian and Chinese arguments were rooted in national security. “Now, when China stands up and says, ‘We want a seat at the table of internet governance,’ the U.S. can say, ‘No. The internet should be stateless.’ They’re in a much stronger position to make that argument today than they were before,” Matthew Prince, co-founder of the company Cloudflare, told Defense One at the time. In a statement Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov framed Russia’s desire for an alternative DNS as essential to “protecting it from possible external influence.”

“We all know who the chief administrator of the global internet is. And due to its volatility, we have to think about how to ensure our national security,” Peskov said.


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