Multiple companies are disassociating themselves from Russia, by pulling their products and services - like Visa, Mastercard, and more. Millions of Russian citizens have been dramatically affected by this new wave of cancel culture. To fight this, Russia has decided to move off the "global internet" entirely.
The "global internet" is basically the mainstream or surface internet millions of people use every day.
No later than March 11th, all servers and domains in Russia "must be transferred to the Russian zone."
Also, any data on the network infrastructure on these sites is being collected.
Russia Has Planned This...
Disconnecting from the global internet is something Russia has been trying to do for a while. They passed "sovereign internet" laws as a way to protect themselves from being shielded from foreign nations.
Last year, Russia managed to successfully test disconnecting from a large portion of the web.
Free speech activists fear this move would strengthen government control of cyberspace.
However, Russia's reasoning is more for defense and not control. They believe that the sanctions will have serious future implications. They see it as a way to protect all the tech their citizens use from being completely useless.
But No Idea Is Original
A state-controlled Internet is not new. China has been doing this for years. Chinese citizens have a completely different reality of what the Internet looks like than most people. They even have their own version of Google.
There isn't much a person can do on the Internet in China without their government knowing about it.
Other countries like to use China's model - they just have a bigger smile on their face and better TV commercials.
The United States has been limiting certain topics and platforms for years, whether through legislation or with the help of Big Tech.
Gab is basically banned from every payment processor and has been delisted from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
And Google can remove autocomplete results that involve sensitive topics, and even outright blacklist websites.
As the conflict between Russia and the rest of the world continues, there will be many changes on the digital front that affect the lives of Russian citizens and citizens around the world.
Considering how easy it is for entire governments and companies to hit that off switch, it's important to be as private as possible when surfing the web.
Keep your VPN handy any time you open a browser, especially when making purchases. Instead, use Brave Search, Searx or other private search engines when doing research.
If possible, use different operating systems like Linux and Tails on your computer. Tails will delete all traces of activity once it's shut down.
If you need things really private, consider buying, searching, etc. on the Dark Web.