On November 1 the Federal Law commonly referred to as the "Law on the secured Internet" will come into force (except for certain parts). The stated purpose of the Law is to create infrastructure to guarantee stable operation of the Russian Internet, i.e. RUnet, in case it is "disconnected" from the global Internet. In order to implement the new rules, a number of subordinate regulations will need to be adopted in the nearest future.
On May 1, 2019 the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a law which introduced amendments to the Law on telecommunications and the Law on information, information technologies and protection of information having to do with the Russian segment of the Internet (the "Law"). It assigned securing obligations to a wide range of subjects, e.g. communications service providers, proprietors and owners of communication networks, traffic exchange points and communication lines and others if they have a unique identification number for means of communication and other technical facilities on the Internet (i.e. autonomous system number or ASN). The Law also provided the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications ("Roskomnadzor") with broader powers to ensure stable operation of the Internet in Russia.
According to the Law, communications service providers are now required to install special equipment for countering threats ("equipment"). If any instability or security threats arise, Roskomnadzor can centrally control the public Internet via the equipment or through mandatory instructions to multiple subjects, including communications service providers. Specific regulation addresses traffic exchange points (which are defined as hardware and software packages and/or communications facilities to connect and route network traffic unmodified, provided that the proprietor/owner of the communication network has an ASN). Proprietors and owners of traffic exchange points are required to inform Roskomnadzor when traffic exchange points start running and they cannot connect communication networks whose owners do not comply with applicable legislation.
As of now, Roskomnadzor has already adopted two new orders in pursuance of the Law. The first one establishes the Russian national domain system, which consists of the RU, SU and РФ top-level domains and other top-level domains managed by Russian legal entities which are the registered owners of these domains' databases with international organizations for the distribution of network addresses and domains.
The second order outlines the technical conditions for installing equipment for countering threats (e.g. uninterruptible power supply, compliance with climate impacts, use of interfaces and communication protocols) and requirements to networks. Both of these orders will also come into force on November 1, 2019.
There are around fifteen other draft subordinate regulations available to the public. Most of them received a negative assessment of their regulatory impact of the competent authorities and therefore were not approved. Several draft documents, e.g. establishing the rules for operating the register of traffic exchange points and requirements to ensure the functioning of traffic exchange points, were assessed positively.
According to the public media, Roskomnadzor has already started to install equipment as prescribed by the Law. Equipment testing will continue until the end of October.
Finally, we note that the current Law is one of multiple legal acts regulating the Internet which the Russian authorities have successfully adopted. The latest also include:
- Regulation on digital rights
- Rules on restricting fake news
- Changes in the blocking of information
- Rules on identification of messenger users
- Retaining information about Internet users and telecommunication services users
- Regulation on critical infrastructure
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