Experts: How to impose Internet sanctions on Russia

BOSTON (Associated Press) – Ukraine’s attempt to launch Russia online has failed, but a variety of experts are proposing a more specific approach to punishing the Kremlin for invading its neighbor: Consider creating a mechanism that could technically blacklist Russian military and propaganda websites. .

In an open letter issued on Thursday, Activists say it is time for the Internet community to develop a way to respond to humanitarian crises. Floating it means collecting and publishing a list of sanctioned IP addresses and domain names in the form of data feeds that other telecom providers and network operators can subscribe to with the goal of making targets unreachable.

No new technology will be needed, and putting the system into action requires minimal effort because it will mirror existing technologies already in use by network operators, said Bill Woodcock, CEO of Packet Clearing House, a global non-profit organization that promotes the development of the Internet.

“The implementation is very straightforward because it’s just like what we use with spam, malware, phishing, DDoS and so on,” added Woodcock, who organized the effort with Bart Grothweys, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.

Among the 40 signatories are security researchers, civic and online officials, former White House officials, and current and former officials of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the nonprofit organization that operates the Internet’s naming and address inventory system.

They agree with ICANN leadership that separating the population of a country from the Internet is “disproportionate and inappropriate” because it “obstructs their access to the very information that would cause them to withdraw their support for acts of war and leaves them to access only their own information. Private government chooses furnishing”.

Since the Internet is decentralized, privately controlled and managed by ICANN and its affiliated regional bodies – not governments – it will be up to these multiple stakeholders to agree to the contents of the blacklist and to participate in its implementation.

Woodcock acknowledged that the biggest obstacle to the signatories’ proposal was the question of who would draw up a sanctions list, which would need to be agreed upon by many stakeholders. This was a relatively smooth process to determine what is spam and what is malware. But when it comes to blocking other websites, network operators are reluctant to do so unless they have a government request.

Woodock said the letter had a total of 87 authors who were involved in 10 days of heated debate, but that their companies did not allow many to sign.

Last week, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, asked ICANN to remove the country-wide .ru domain from the Internet and disconnect root servers in Russia. ICANN President Goran Marby rejected the request, saying the body must “maintain impartiality,” and that its mission “does not extend to punitive action,” including issuing penalties or restricting access “regardless of provocations.”

Russian state-controlled media publishes incendiary and baseless allegations on the Internet, such as that Ukraine is developing biological or chemical weapons. At the same time, they censor media that do not follow the Kremlin’s line in a new law that threatens journalists with imprisonment of up to 15 years. Russia has also closed independent news organizations.