'Digital Iron Curtain:' Major Internet Backbone Providers Shut Down Service in Russia
Two major American companies that provide internet services to Russia has announced plans to pull out of the country. Lumen and Cogent, part of the global internet backbone, are shutting down communications with Russia in what some are referring to as a “digital iron curtain.”
The Verge reports that Lumen, a U.S. company that provides essential internet services, has reportedly pulled out of Russia less than a week after its major competitor Cogent announced it also wouldn’t be providing its services in the country. As more tech giants pull out of Russia, the “digital Iron Curtain” between Russia and the West continues to grow.
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Vladimir Putin (Sputnik/AFP Alexey NIKOLSKY)
Lumen detailed its decision to shut down its business in Russia, stating it was “due to increased security Risk,” in the country. Lumen stated: “We have not yet experienced network disruptions, but given the increasingly uncertain environment and the heightened risk of state action, we took this move to ensure the security of our and our customers’ networks, as well as the ongoing integrity of the global Internet.”
The firm emphasized that it has no consumer customers in Russia and that the number of businesses in the country availing of its services was “extremely small.” However, according to others Lumen actually has quite a large presence in Russia.
The Network analyst firm Kentik stated that Lumen is “the top international transit provider to Russia.” Some of Lumen’s customers include Russia’s largest telecoms firm, Rostelecom; broadband provider TransTelecom; and three mobile operators MTS, Megafon, and VEON.
The actual impact of Lumen leaving Russia remains to be seen but many believe the company’s departure will make a great impact on Russia’s access to the internet. Doug Madory, the director of Kentik, told the Washington Post: “This is going to add up. It would be noticeable, I think.”
A number of tech giants have taken action against Russian state media, with multiple platforms banning Russian media across the EU. Facebook (including Instagram), YouTube, and TikTok have completely banned Russian media outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik throughout the European Union.