Russia-Ukraine War: The Digital Iron Curtain

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With tech companies pulling out and the Russian government blocking media and services, is Russia surrounded by a digital iron curtain?

  • It’s day 14 of the Russia-Ukraine war. So far, many tech companies and services have stopped operations in Russia. There are fears that Russia could be isolated from global internet.
  • Ukraine’s deputy PM Mykhailo Fedorov, had even requested internet governance body Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, to unplug Russia from the global internet.
  • ICANN chief declined the request, stating, “Our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments on the internet”.
  • While it’s a good move from ICANN, Russia is actively blocking many western apps and services. Last week it even passed a ‘fake news’ law which led to the exodus of independent media outlets.
  • All this is working in the favor of the Russian government and those who are most affected are the regular citizens, who do not have high-quality unbiased alternatives to blocked services.
  • China’s Great Firewall epitomises 'splinternet', a different version of the internet, which censors western sites. But China built it over the years with high-quality alternatives to western apps.
The New York Times
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