Ukraine is stepping up its cyber war with Russia and is now essentially trying to disconnect their enemy from the internet.
The news outlet says if that was approved then it 'would effectively bar access to Russian internet sites, with the potential for knocking the entire country offline'.
ICANN spokeswoman Angelina Lopez told reporters at CNBC that they had ‘received the letter and are reviewing it’, but would not comment any further on the matter.
If Russian sites and users were removed from the world wide web, it would be an unprecedented move against the country.
It would not only prevent digital attacks from Moscow to the outside world but it would also block online propaganda and troll farms based in Russia.
The call comes after Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov called on tech billionaire Elon Musk to hook the country up to Starlink after Russia knocked out internet access in large chunks of Ukraine.
Mark Zuckerberg, while you create Metaverse — Russia ruins real life in Ukraine! We ask you to ban access to @facebookapp and @instagram from Russia — as long as tanks and missiles attack our kindergartens and hospitals! @Meta.— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
We’ve already noticed @Meta decisions on blocking Russian propagandists and media outlets. @nickclegg, thanks for your actions and this very first step in countering the bloody military attack against Ukraine. There is no place for war criminals in Metaverse. https://t.co/IbB0NmQD5A— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
Musk responded swiftly, providing satellite internet access to Ukraine and shipping additional Starlink terminals to the government to ensure further connectivity for the Ukrainian people.
Internet provision in Ukraine has been disrupted amid the Russian invasion, with the UK-based cybersecurity watchdog NetBlocks reporting that connectivity to Ukraine’s main provider GigaTrans dropped to below 20 percent of normal levels in the early hours of Friday last week.
Starlink is a space-based system of satellites that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. It refers to its dishes as 'terminals'.
Earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX had 1,469 Starlink satellites active, along with 272 moving to operational orbits soon.
Mykhailo Fedorov has also called on multiple global brands to impose other digital sanctions on Russian users for ‘as long as tanks and missiles attack our kindergartens and hospitals’.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (Facebook and Instagram) responded in a statement that their platforms would support Ukraine by establishing a specialist operations centre staffed by Russian and Ukrainian native speakers for those who need help.
Additional safety features have also been added, and there is an intensified focus on the spread of misinformation.
Google, Youtube, Dmarket, Visa, and Mastercard were all called upon to impose similar restrictions to Russian users.
Featured Image Credit: Russian Government/Alamy Stock Photo
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