Experts: How to Impose Internet Sanctions on Russia | Your money

BOSTON (AP) — Ukraine’s bid to get Russia off the internet has failed, but a diverse group of experts is proposing a narrower approach to sanctioning the Kremlin for invading its neighbor: Consider creating a mechanism that could technically blacklist individual Russian military and propaganda sites.

In one open letter published Thursday, activists say it’s time the internet community developed a way to deal with humanitarian crises. The idea that they’re floating would mean gathering and publishing a list of sanctioned IP addresses and domain names as data feeds to which telecom providers and other network operators could subscribe in an effort to make unreachable targets.

No new technology would be needed and the system would require minimal effort to implement, as it would mirror those already used by network operators, said Bill Woodcock, executive director of Packet Clearing House, a global nonprofit organization. profit that promotes the development of the Internet.

“The implementation is very simple because it’s exactly the same as what we use for spam, malware, phishing, DDoS attacks, etc.,” added Woodcock, who organized the effort with Bart Groothuis, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament.

The nearly 40 signatories include security researchers, online civil liberties advocates, former White House officials, The Internet Archive, and current and former officials of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. , the non-profit organization that maintains the Internet’s naming system and address inventory.

They agree with ICANN management that disconnecting a country’s population from the Internet is “disproportionate and inappropriate” because it “hinders their access to the very information that could cause them to withdraw support for acts of war and only gives them access to the information they have. own government chooses to provide.

Because the Internet is decentralized, dominated by the private sector, and administered by ICANN and affiliated regional bodies – not by governments – it would be up to these multiple stakeholders to accept the contents of a blacklist and participate to its implementation.

Woodcock acknowledged that the biggest obstacle to the signatories’ proposal is the question of who would draw up a list of sanctions, which will have to be approved by several stakeholders. This process has been relatively smooth in determining what is spam and what is malware. But when it comes to blocking other sites, network operators have been reluctant to do so unless they have a request from the government.

Woodock said the letter had 87 authors in total who engaged in 10 days of heated debate, but many were not cleared by their companies to sign.

Last week, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, asked ICANN to remove the Russian national domain .ru from the Internet and disconnect root servers in Russia. ICANN President Goeran Marby rejected the request, saying the body must “maintain neutrality”, that its mission “does not extend to taking punitive measures”, including issuing sanctions or the restriction of access “whatever the provocations”.

Russian state-controlled media broadcast inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims online, for example that Ukraine is developing biological or chemical weapons. At the same time, they are censoring news media that don’t toe the Kremlin line in a new law threatening journalists with up to 15 years in prison. Russia has also shut down independent news agencies.

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