Russia claims to have successfully tested its own alternative to the Internet.
According to an announcement by the Russian Ministry of Communications, a test was successfully carried out across all of Russia just before Christmas, without ordinary users apparently noticing.
The process reportedly involved putting filters in place at global Internet connections, allowing for the easier blocking of sites and information that the Russian government may wish to restrict access to.
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Critics claim that this means the government will be better able to censor the Internet, by restricting what content Russian users will be able to access. Government ministers who have legislated for tighter controls argue that it's to ensure Russian Internet services can continue without interference from other countries, such as the United States.
The latter point has especially been a concern for the Russian government after Western sanctions against the country over the conflict in Western Ukraine. Additionally, more aggressive US sanctions against countries working with Russia, such as those recently announced against the completion of a Russian gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, has helped promote a protectionist response.
This is especially as ICANN and key internet servers remain based in the US and increasingly vulnerable to US protectionist interests under Donald Trump's presidency, one that has seen the US actively withdraw from international treaties and routinely attack its own allies.
While campaigners would like to paint the latest development as an attempt to limit Free Speech, national filtering is nothing new, as has been demonstrated by countries such as China, with Google and other major Internet companies actively censoring their content in pursuit of profits there.
In the meantime, US technology giants continue to avoid paying overseas business taxes by channeling profits into tax havens, a move France recently tried to combat only to face retaliatory tariffs from the US.
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Via BBC News (opens in new tab)