2019/03/21: In the next two weeks, Russia is planning to attempt something no other country has tried before. It’s going to test whether it can disconnect from the rest of the world electronically while keeping the internet running for its citizens. This means it will have to reroute all its data internally, rather than relying on servers abroad.
The test is key to a proposed “sovereign internet” law currently working its way through Russia’s government. It looks likely to be eventually voted through and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, though it has stalled in parliament for now.
Pulling an iron curtain down over the internet is a simple idea, but don’t be fooled: it’s a fiendishly difficult technical challenge to get right. It is also going to be very expensive.
As well as rerouting its ISPs, Russia will also have to unplug from the global domain name system (DNS) so traffic cannot be rerouted through any exchange points that are not inside Russia.
“An alternate DNS can be used to create an alternate reality for the majority of Russian internet users,”
Evgeny Morozov: Beijing and Moscow are rightly chastised for restricting their citizens' online access - but it's the US that is now even more aggressive in asserting its digital sovereignty
2014/02/19: the term balkanization itself creates problems. Depending on whom you ask, balkanization can be a positive or negative process. For some, the term represents a move toward freedom from oppression. For others, it is a reminder of centuries of bloody struggle to hold together a region that ultimately ended in violent fragmentation, which makes use of the word offensive to some. Fragmentation of the Internet is the term we’ll use, but maybe a creative mind somewhere will find a better, more evocative way to describe it.
The question is: What does fragmentation mean, exactly? Is it the end of the Internet if domain names can no longer only be written using the Roman alphabet? If so, the Internet ended in 2009, when ICANN approved alternative alphabet domain names. Is it fragmentation if people around the world using Weibo and Yandex in lieu of Google and Twitter? Or is it data localization and national routing – subjecting data transfers to national boundaries? This debate is a lot more complex than most headlines suggest. The Internet is more than Facebook and it is more than the Web itself—more than the content people access every day. However, popular discussion tends to lump these various dimensions together. It obscures the fragmentation efforts that truly undermine the openness and interoperability of the network.