Russia won’t be kicked off the internet for invading Ukraine

In connection with the Russian invasion,

Ukrainian representatives demanded that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names. And Numbers (ICANN) revoke Russian top-level domains (.ru, .rf, and .su). Along with national SSL certificates. In essence, these actions, if taken, cut Russia off from the “internal” part of the Internet. The request was made by Andriy Nabok, ICANN Representative in Ukraine, and Mikhail Fedorov. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. Fedorov also called for a broader boycott of Russia by the gaming and tech industries.

ICANN CEO and President Göran Marby responded to a request.

through a letter (Thanks, ZDNet), which boils down to: no, we won’t do that, and that’s not what we’re for. “In our role as technical coordinator of unique identifiers for the Internet, we take steps to ensure that the operation of the Internet is not politicized and we do not have the power to impose sanctions. Essentially, ICANN was created to keep the Internet working, not to have its stewardship role prevent it from working.”

“As part of our mission, we remain neutral and act in support of the global Internet,”

Marby writes. “Our mission does not extend to taking punitive measures, imposing sanctions or restricting access to segments of the Internet, regardless of provocations. ICANN applies its policies consistently and according to documented processes. Making unilateral changes will undermine the credibility of the multilateral community. model and policy developed to support the global interoperability of the Internet”

The reaction is really not surprising.

Although many companies have taken every possible action regarding operations in Russia, The entire function of ICANN is technical and apolitical. Andrew Sullivan, President and CEO of the Internet Society refers to this and other calls to interfere with Russia’s ties with the outside world:

“These proposals are missing something fundamental about the Internet:

It was never designed around national borders. The idea of ​​shutting down a country is just as wrong when people want to do it with another country as it is when governments want to do it with their own country. ‘ writes Sullivan. Connecting to the Internet means that anyone with access can use the Internet to communicate. This means both aggressors and opponents. Unlike most historical methods of communication, the Internet is remarkably resilient when conditions are poor. It’s not magic. intrusions. But it’s a great tool that people can use against their oppressors.”

Sullivan also warns of the prospect of what he calls a “splinternet”

“The Internet splitting along geographic, political, commercial and/or technological boundaries” – and that it is contrary to what the Internet was supposed to be. “Disconnecting an entire population from the Internet will stop the spread of misinformation from that population, but it will also stop the flow of truth.”

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