Russia Shuts Down the Internet

Russia announced that it will be conducting a “trial shutdown” of the Internet country-wide. What bad could happen from that, you ask?

Russia explains it will be testing its own homebrew version of the Internet called the “RuNet.” Must have worked with a very powerful branding firm on the naming. Catchy.

The Russians will pull the plug on 1 November.

The first problem they have acknowledged is they are not perfectly certain they know how to shut down the Internet in Russia. They have been working on this idea for more than a decade and they are still not sure they can kill the Internet.

The Russians passed a law back in May that not many folks paid attention to, but the law directed the Roskomnadzor (Russia’s communications oversight agency) to gin up an “internet management and monitoring center to be able to suspend outside internet traffic.”

OK, I think he’s talking about that wacky Word of the Day site. Right?

OK, Scrabble quiz: How many letters and how many points for C-E-N-S-O-R-S-H-I-P? Yes, this is just an exercise to neuter the Internet should Zuck and Facebook get out of control. Perfectly innocuous.

The Russian Roskomnadzor actually said this:

“. . . . . the government approved the provision on conducting exercises to ensure the stable, safe and holistic functioning of the Internet and public communications networks in the Russian Federation. The exercises are held at the federal (in the territory of the Russian Federation) and regional (in the territory of one or more constituent entities of the Russian Federation) levels.”

What the Roskomnadzor did not say was that they intend to allow RuNet to continue access to those websites that the Russians approve. I imagine the approved list will be a doozy.

Hint: If the Russians can figure out how to shut down the Internet, they will. They will fire up RuNet. They will censor the crap out of any sites they do not like. If they can make this work, they will turn off the Internet permanently.

What? You didn’t see this coming. OMG, you are so damn sweet and naive. Bless your heart.

This comes on the heels of the Russian military’s 2016 launch of their own Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. The JWICS is the US Department of Defense classified internal network. Our attempt not to fall prey to anybody turning off our Internet.

A chap named Herman Klimenko, who is the top tech adviser to Vladimir Putin, suggested that the Russian version of the JWICS could be scaled up to handle the entire country’s entire Internet traffic.

Let’s be clear here:

 1. The Russians are going to censor everything they can. No surprises there, right? What is China doing? Same thing. Communists always like to censor stuff.

 2. Big point — The Russians think the West will knock out their Internet during the first minute of any hostilities. God, I hope we are planning to do that. Please, God, make us that smart.

How about if we turn off their electrical grid? The traffic lights? The automatic hand drying fans in the rest rooms. Let’s wreak havoc.

 3. The Big Point is a huge strategic vulnerability. The Russians are right. Again, please, God.

 4. The Russians are caught in a classic pissing contest wanting to prove that their country can handle the tech challenges of this century and the next. Truth? They are inferior and they know it.

 5. Back to the censorship. The Russians and China have entered into a joint Internet censorship arrangement. It is in writing. Nobody in the west supposedly knows WTF it says, but we all now exactly what it says. The Russians and the Chinese don’t want their people getting any GIFs that depict freedom or rioting in front of the Kremlin or in Hong Kong.

These two guys had a nice chat recently in Vladivostok. What could possibly go wrong when two murderous Communist dictators spend a weekend together chatting about us Americans and killing their own dissidents?

But, hey what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. This Russia shutting down the Internet thing? Big deal, y’all.

Have a great weekend. Try to stay off the Internet. Go have lunch with somebody who needs some company. Blow some sunshine into the world.