When you open a website, you use the DNS or the Domain Name System. It is like the Internet’s equivalent of a phone book, wherein it maintains a directory of domain names and translate them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses which computers can understand.
This is universally used by internet users. But Russia is eyeing to create another one – an alternative – as soon as 2018.
According to Russian news site 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.”
While it was released that this move is for “national security concerns,” this parallel internet that Russia is building might just be Moscow’s own plans for “offensive cyber operations” as described by Defense One.
RT also detailed that the Russian government will build an “independent internet” for use by Russia, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa, or collectively called the BRICS nations, “in the event of global internet malfunctions.”
However, there might be a much deeper agenda in this effort, something that Russia and China share even before.
The two powerful countries have long pushed national governments to take more control over the DNS and net governance in general via the UN International Telecommunication Union or ITU.
Putin approves of this plan. Photo by Reuters
Since unsuccessful, Russia is taking the matter on its own hands by building an internet on their own. That could mean that one day, the Russian government could do more in terms of censorship, surveillance, and cyberwarfare.
But if you ask Mitch Stoltz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, he would say that it would take a lot of effort before the parallel internet rolls out.
“Every computer and phone and internet-connected device in the world has to be configured to talk to particular DNS servers,” he said.
Stoltz added that to have a truly independent internet, the Russian government would have to “reconfigure every internet-connected device within Russia to talk to that system.”
It is worth noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin approves this plan, setting the completion date on August 1 next year.