“Sovereign Internet” Bill Passed by Russian Duma

22.04.2019

Legal update No 674

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP, formerly Goltsblat BLP in Russia, advises that bill No. 608767-7 revising the Federal Laws “Communications” and “Information, Information Technology and Protection of Information” passed its third reading on 16 April 2019 (the“ Bill”).

The legislation is designed to ensure that Internet services in Russia are safe and sustainable if there is a threat of not being able to connect to foreign servers.

Centralised Control over Public Telecom Network (PTN)

Under the Bill, the Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor is to monitor telecom networks’ functioning if the “integrity, stability, and security” of the Russian Internet and PTN are threatened.

Should that happen, Roskomnadzor will have the power to control the PTN centrally.

To this end, it will provide telecoms operators with free equipment to counter threats. It will also be given the authority to issue binding instructions, including restricting access to information resources, and to set binding e-traffic routing rules when recipients or senders are Russia-based telecoms users.

The Russian Government is to put forward a PTN centralised management procedure detailing the types of these threats, the threat identification protocol, the requirements on technical and administrative arrangements for liaising with telecoms operators, etc.

Drills

For the purpose of hands-on experience in ensuring functioning of the Internet, the following Internet infrastructure players will be required to participate in training drills. These are:

  • telecoms operators;

  • telecom technological network owners and other keepers;

  • traffic exchange point owners and other keepers;

  • owners and other keepers of communications crossing the Russian state border;

  • other parties assigned autonomous system numbers (ASNs)1.

The training policies should come from the Russian Government.

National Domain Name System (NDNS)

NDNS must be developed as “a set of interrelated software and hardware designed to store and retrieve information about IP addresses and domains”.

Roskomnadzor will also be a cofounder of a not-for-profit institution coordinating domain creation within Russia’s national domain zone and owning the zone’s databases in international organisations distributing IP addresses and domain names.

All telecoms operators and other players listed in the Bill will be required to switch over to NDNS.

Network Failures

Telecoms operators may not be charged with breach of licence triggered by network failures due to anti-threat toolkit functioning.

The Bill is on track to become law on 1 November 2019 with some provisions (such as cryptographic data protection and NDNS clauses) applying from 1 January 2021.

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1 ASN - a unique identifier of communications and other technical devices within the same autonomous system on the Internet.

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