Ukraine’s efforts to oust Russia from the Internet have failed, but a diverse group of experts has suggested a narrower approach to allowing the Kremlin to invade its neighbors: Consider creating a process that would blacklist technically separate Russian military and propaganda websites. May 6
In an open letter released Thursday, activists said it was time for the Internet community to create a way to deal with the humanitarian crisis. The idea they are floating is to collect and publish a list of authorized IP addresses and domain names in the form of data feeds that telecommunications providers and other network operators may subscribe to in order to render targets inaccessible.
No new technology will be needed and the system will require minimal effort to operate as it will reflect existing ones already used by network operators, says Bill Woodcock, executive director of Packet Clearing House, a global nonprofit that promotes Internet development.
Woodcock, who co-sponsored the effort with Dutch member of the European Parliament Bert Gruthuis, added: “The implementation is very straightforward because it’s exactly what we use for spam and malware and phishing and DDoS and more.”
About 40 signatories include security researchers, online civil liberties, former White House officials, current and former officials of the Internet Archives and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the nonprofit that manages Internet naming systems and address lists.
They agree with the ICANN leadership that disconnecting a country’s population from the Internet is “disproportionate and inappropriate” because it “hinders their access to information that could withdraw support for their war activities and leave them only access to their information.” Likes to be decorated. “
Because the Internet is decentralized, dominated by the private sector, and run by ICANN and approved regional agencies – not governments – it will be up to those multiple stakeholders to agree on a blacklist content and participate in its implementation.
Woodcock acknowledged that the biggest obstacle to signatories’ proposals was the question of who would draw up a sanctions list, which would have to be agreed upon by multiple stakeholders. The process for determining what is spam and what is malware is relatively smooth. But when it comes to blocking other sites, network operators are reluctant to do so without official request.
Woodak said the letter contained a total of 87 authors who were engaged in a 10-day heated debate but did not allow many of their organizations to sign.
Last week, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mikhailov Fedorov, asked ICANN to remove Russia’s country-wide domain .ru from the Internet and disconnect Russia’s root servers. ICANN’s president, Guerran Marbi, declined the request, saying the agency must “maintain neutrality”, that its mission is not to extend “punitive action”, including imposing sanctions or restricting access “regardless of provocation”.
State-controlled Russian media are promoting unproven, provocative claims online, such as Ukraine developing biological or chemical weapons. At the same time, they are censoring the media, which is not in line with the Kremlin’s line. A new law threatens to imprison journalists for up to 15 years. Russia has also shut down independent news outlets.