The Chinese Communists have effectively walled off the internet in their nation, or at least made the free flow of information to and from the rest of the world a difficult and risky undertaking. What about an iron firewall to replace the iron curtain? A group called RUSSOFT has proposed that another great firewall be built around Belarus, Russia, and surprisingly Ukraine. The project would take a decade and cost several hundred million dollars. RUSSOFT members would be the obvious beneficiaries, so it’s no surprise they are pushing the idea. It’s a very bad idea, but we are living in strange times.
Lets hope the Governments involved have enough common sense to let this idea die without being funded.
The proposal seems to mimic an idea expressed by Russia’s Minister of Communication, Igor Schegolev. Schegolev had earlier spoken about the need to protect the Russian share of the internet (called the Runet for websites ending in .ru), from external threats. The ministry is currently working on creating a Cyrillic alphabet alternative to the Latin-based domain name system, and the controls could feasibly go hand-in-hand.
The proposal on “providing access to foreign Internet resources through a funnel,” appeared in a report written by Makarov titled “Proposals for developing the information society.” As of yet, Makarov says he hasn’t discussed the project “with the people who make the decisions on these issues in Russia.”
The computer expert firmly believes that an information funnel will not necessarily be used to restrict Internet freedoms. “International rules and standards must be worked out to attribute sources that are dangerous to society, and control of the national network must be established based on a dialogue between the government and the online community,” Makarov explained.
Kremlin critics are concerned that such a move would give the government undue power over the internet, which has remained relatively free even as authorities have clamped down on independent print and broadcast media. (The Other Russia)