Russia Officially Passes Internet Isolation Bill, Policies/Construction To Begin by November 2019

This past Monday Russia’s Federation Council officially approved the passage of a new law designed to create a new national backup to the World Wide Web inside Russia’s borders. Code-named “Runet” and domestically named the “Internet Isolation Law,” the operation is designed to create a new set of national infrastructure allowing for Russia to stay connected to the internet in the event of a global shutdown or deliberate cut off from it – such as Russia has been threatened with throughout the very recent past.

For those of you whom might be unfamiliar, the law was first introduced in December 2018 and has quickly made its way through Parliament. From here, all that remains for the law to go into effect is a signature from Putin – which he is fully expected to do. As was reported by Russia Today on April 22nd 2019, the law is officially “expected to take effect in November” with an estimated budget size “of some $460 million” – construction said to begin shortly thereafter, estimated to run until at least 2022.

Learn More – Russia Aims To Create Backup To The World-Wide-Web, Create Its Own National Internet Infrastructure:

As was also reported by Russia Today a week before that, on April 16th 2019, Rusnet will establish “the creation of a national DNS system that stores all domain names and corresponding IP addresses, and would provide cryptographic data protection.” Additionally, it would “also restrict the transfer of data shared between Russian internet users to servers outside of the country.“It is also important to distinguish that the project aims to ensure the internet’s continuous operation inside Russia throughout the future, not to build a sovereign national internet like China has.

Moreover, despite its controversy, Russian lawmakers actually argue that the new law/project is not much different than a 2012 Executive Order signed by then President Obama, allowing the US Government to seize all electronic communications in the event of a national security emergency if need be. In many ways, Russia claims to have drafted this law after first being inspired to do so by Obama’s directive.

Learn More – Obama Executive Order “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions”:

View Copy of Russia’s New Law:

Browse Legislation:

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Moscow Introduces New Legislation Designed To Create A “Sovereign Internet” Inside Russian Borders

(HRW) – An acquaintance living in the United States asked me if it was true that Russia is about to “cut off its Internet” from the rest of the world. He sounded panicked – his family still lives in Russia. He was concerned about recent reports that giants like Google are yielding to Russia’s war on online speech and are cooperating with the government.

While the reality is not quite as dramatic, his reaction is understandable. The government effectively controls most of traditional media in Russia and has been taking steps to bring the internet under greater state control, while prosecuting social media users and adopting highly regressive legislation on data storage localization, encryption, and cybersecurity. Last week, parliament held its first hearing on a draft law on internet “sovereignty,” which aims to protect Russia from foreign cyberattacks and respond to the US cybersecurity strategy.

Learn More – Russia Proposing To Create Its Own Backup To The Worldwide Web:

The draft, if adopted, would enable Russian internet to operate independently from the global internet in the event of an emergency or foreign threat. It would require all online services operating in Russia to install equipment to monitor web traffic and block banned content under direct oversight of Russia’s watchdog media and communications agency. This proposal naturally raises censorship and surveillance concerns, although the draft is so vague that even its authors were unable to explain how it would work in practice. The second hearing is next month.

View/Track Bill Here:

Recent reports of Google’s cooperation with Russian authorities are also a cause of concern. According to Google’s transparency report, the number of Russian government requests to remove content spiked to 182,462 in the first half of 2018 ( from 2,566 over the same period in 2016). Google complied with 79% of all requests to remove content, in whole or in part, during this period. It remains unclear how Google will respond as authorities expand enforcement of Russian laws that jeopardize internet users’ safety and freedom of speech, especially if Google risks being blocked in Russia.

Read More – Roskomnadzor Fines Google, Company Faces Potential Banishment from Russia:

There are precedents for this: in 2016, authorities blocked LinkedIn for noncompliance with the data storage law, and in 2018, they ordered Telegram blocked for its refusal to hand over encryption keys. Russia’s regressive internet laws have mostly been rushed, clumsy and chaotic, but that doesn’t reduce their threat to freedom of speech and information. Authorities do sometimes rigorously implement them – and penalize those who refuse to obey.

Full Copy of Draft Law:

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This article was originally published by Human Rights Watch on February 18th 2019. It was republished, with permission, using a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 US License, in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of Human Rights Watch | Formatting edits, Tweets, PDF Files added/embedded by Rogue Media Labs

Government of Sudan Restricts National Internet Access, Blocks Social Media Amidst Ongoing National Protests

Dating back to December 20th 2018, in the wake of massive demonstrations across the country, led by President Omar al-Bashir, the Government of Sudan has shut down most of the national internet and blocked access to social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. As for why the people of Sudan are protesting, in many ways it is not that much different than the situation in France and Jordan – protesters are upset about the growing wealth/income disparity in the country, as well as the rising costs of food, fuel and taxes.

As was reported by Amnesty International on December 21st,  “Sudan is currently experiencing a severe economic crisis which has led to a rise in the cost of fuel, electricity, transport, food and medicine provoking countrywide protests.” Explaining that “since 14 December, tens of thousands of people have been taking part in protests in different parts of the country including in Wad Madani, Port Sudan, Gebeit, Al-Qadarif, Atbara, Berber, Dongla, Karima, Al-Damazin, Al Obeid, Al Fasher, Khartoum and Omdurman.” Adding that as of this past Wednesday, at least 8 people have been killed dozens injured and hundreds more arrested. “The government has also shut down the internet since 20 December, in yet another attempt to stop the protests.

According to researchers on the ground however, there are multiple reports that +30 have been killed since the start of Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the situation is beginning to remind me a lot about the Oromo protests in Ethiopia in 2015/2016. Not only were hundreds killed in these protests, but the Ethiopian Government also restricted access to the National internet and social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a result, the Anonymous Hacker Collective jumped in, instruction Ethiopian citizens how to utilize VPN’s and the Tor networking service, as well as set activists up with encrypted chat servers and email accounts to safely coordinate national protests with one another throughout the future.

If anyone from Sudan manages to get this information, or you know people in Sudan whom need the information, they can learn how to circumvent national internet restrictions and Government blockades through the information and resources provided below. Additionally, activists working on behalf of CyberGuerrilla have already set up channels on the DarkNet and ClearNet for Sudanese activists to learn more about these practices, as well as how safely coordinate with one another or others looking to help them online while. You are invited to reach out to them here:

Anti-Censorship Care Package – What To Do When National Internet Becomes Restricted or Blocked (via CyberGuerrilla): #OpSudan
https://3ur4xm2japn56c5f.onion/ #OpSudan

Ways To Connect To CyberGuerrilla IRC: (look for Channel #OpSudan)

Additional Security Resources & Tutorials for Sudan Activists:

The Onion Network:
Security Handbook:
Email Encryption Basics:
Connecting To The IRC:
HexChat IRC On Windows or Linux:
How To Write Un-Hackable Passwords:
Phone Security:
Email Security Strategies:
Making The Switch To Encrypted Emails:
Encrypted Chatrooms & VoIP Apps:
How To Make, Create & Maintain an Anonymous Identity Online:
Securing Your Social Media Accounts:
Building & Selecting Safer Web Browsers:
The Value of Copy & Paste Services:
Miscellaneous Tips, Tricks & Security ‘Hacks’:
Operation Security:

Download Tor for Windows, Apple, Android and/or Linux Devices Here:

More Resources Available Here:

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New Study: Only 24.1% of Yemeni Citizens Currently Have Access To The Internet

Earlier this week, along with the help of Citizen Lab, Shodan, VirusTotal, Censys, ReversingLabs and Rapid7, Recorded Future published their latest research paper. Officially entitled “Underlying Dimensions of Yemen’s Civil War: Control of the Internet,” the paper chronicles the devastating effects of years of War on Yemen internet infrastructure, usage and connectivity. Among other topics, the report details how control of the internet in the country has shifted over the years, as well as how the internet landscape has shifted as different Waring factions have taken control over different portions of the country.

Key Findings/Statistics:

  • Since taking Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in September 2014, the Houthi rebels have controlled YemenNet – Yemens main ISP.
  • Houthi rebels continue to use what’s left of YemenNet’s IP infrastructure to host Coinhive mining services in order to generate revenue to fund their War effort.
  • The Houthi Government controls about 500 “official” Yemeni Government websites through the .ye domain.
  • In June 2018 the Hadi government created an entirely new ISP called AdenNet to counteract Houthi internet controls.
  • Only a small percentage of internet users in Yemen have the skills or knowledge to utilize VPNs, Tor, or routers with DNS recursion to circumvent government controls/surveillance.
  • Major international players, including the United States, Russia, and China have deployed malware/spyware as a means to supplement military efforts and/or leverage political opponents/dissidents.
  • Dating back to 2015, the “Yemen Cyber Army” has emerged as a major player launching attacks against government agencies.
  • Yemen ranks 50th global in population, but 148th in domain registrations.
  • The Houthi Government continues to block public access to WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Since the Yemeni Civil War first began, roughly 80% of all fiber optic cables have been destroyed.
  • Only 24.3% of Yemeni citizens currently have access to the internet in 2018, up from 19.1% in 2014.
  • Roughly 50% of Yemeni citizens have access to cellular phones and/or landlines.

Download Full Research Paper Here:

Read Full Study:

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New Study: Only 9% of Internet Users Still Use A Desktop Computer

Perhaps I find this latest study interesting because I am one of the 9%‘ers whom still uses a desktop computer for everyday use, or maybe I am just a nerd, but a new study by British based communications regulator Ofcom provides a unique insight into how people use the internet, as well as the devices/technology they use to access it. Compiled from interviews of thousands of individuals, researchers hoped to study how people access the internet, the type of technology they use to do so, as well as what they do on it once connected.

What Did They Find?:

  • 78% of respondents say they own an internet connected smartphone and 48% said their smartphone is the primary means through which they access or browse the internet on a daily basis.
  • 63% of respondents said they own a laptop and 24% of those surveyed said their laptops are the primary means through which they use/browse the internet.
  • 58% of those surveyed said that they own a tablet device and 15% said their tablets are the primary means through which they access the internet.
  • 42% of the population says they own a Smart TV
  • Only 28% of the population says they own a desktop computer anymore and only 9% of respondents said that desktops are the primarily means through which they access the internet.

Other Interesting Notes from The Study?:

  • 69% say they use the internet to generally search the web with no real direction or purpose. In order of priority or outcome, this includes emails, online shopping, online banking, social networks, instant messaging, news reading, and video streaming.
  • Interestingly enough, 45% of people said that they don’t have internet at home or in their apartments – only at work. Those same people said they don’t feel as though they need home internet either.
  • 17% of people said they refuse to buy or own a computer
  • 15% of people said that they do not know how to use or operate a computer
  • Desktop computer ownership rates seem to be falling at a rate of around 3% a year, whereas smart TV ownership rates continue to rise each year.
  • 14% said internet access was too expensive to install month after month
  • Another 14% claimed to be “too old” to use the internet – lol

Download Ofcom’s Full Report Here: