Cloudflare Says Shutting Down In Russia Would Give Putin What He Wants
from the making-matters-worse dept
We’ve already noted how several of the business decisions to shut down integral parts of the Internet to “punish Putin” aren’t really punishing Putin, but the Russian public.
For example Cogent’s decision to sever Russia from the rest of the Internet is something that Putin generally wants given his longstanding desire to forge a sort of Russian “splinternet,” allowing him to more freely propagandize the Russian public and cut them off from independent news sources. Experts of various stripes spent much of last week making this very point:
“I am very afraid of this,” said Mikhail Klimarev, executive director of the Internet Protection Society, which advocates for digital freedoms in Russia. “I would like to convey to people all over the world that if you turn off the Internet in Russia, then this means cutting off 140 million people from at least some truthful information. As long as the Internet exists, people can find out the truth. There will be no Internet — all people in Russia will only listen to propaganda.”
Russia’s general bullshit propaganda line on the Russian invasion — which is that Ukraine has somehow become overrun with “Nazis,” and Russia is only intervening in a moral “special operation,” is effectively all Russians hear on Russian media. The propaganda has heavily featured the use of the letter “Z” to help delude Russians into thinking authoritarian oppression is akin to patriotic altruism.
Elsewhere, Cloudflare has announced that the company will not be heeding calls to shut down in Russia, quite correctly noting that it’s something that would bolster Putin’s desire to further isolate the heavily propagandized Russian populace from alternative viewpoints and helpful technologies:
Indiscriminately terminating service would do little to harm the Russian government but would both limit access to information outside the country and make significantly more vulnerable those who have used us to shield themselves as they have criticized the government.
In fact, we believe the Russian government would celebrate us shutting down Cloudflare’s services in Russia. We absolutely appreciate the spirit of many Ukrainians making requests across the tech sector for companies to terminate services in Russia. However, when what Cloudflare is fundamentally providing is a more open, private, and secure Internet, we believe that shutting down Cloudflare’s services entirely in Russia would be a mistake.
Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov had previously asked Cloudflare to shut off service in Russia, stating that “Cloudflare should not protect Russian web resources while their tanks and missiles attack our kindergartens.” Fedorov also urged ICANN to revoke top-level Russian domains.
Of course it’s not like unfettered access to the entirety of the Internet provides some cure for propaganda (see: huge segments of the American public). But cutting off the Russian public from technology and information that might enlighten, inform, or aid activism isn’t the solution many seem to think it is.
Filed Under: activism, internet, propaganda, russia
Comments on “Cloudflare Says Shutting Down In Russia Would Give Putin What He Wants”
Putin dressed as Willy Wonka
No, please, don’t, stop…
It’s a Gene Wilder Willy Wonka, and we call him Waldemar Poutine. He has a small dog with a pointy hat and a monocle.
I was referring to a scene where Gene Wilder said those words without any force behind them as one of the children did something he knew would lead to them getting the lesson they deserved.
Re: Speaking of Gene Wilder
I keep thinking of…Putin on the Ritz. He’s the Frankenstein monster in The Producers and sees the flash on stage…
That’s a boring term. We really should start calling it the Internyet instead.
But “Have you seen the intern yet?” is already taken.
Sure Nyetizen, come behind the iron curtain…
You see, while Russia exaggerates the weight of this fact (ignoring their own homegrown nazis that include their oligarchs/billionaires among others) it is striking how many pictures from the Ukrainian defense forces display nazi symbolism. NATO posted a picture in commemoration of March 8th of a soldier with a huge black sun in her uniform just to mention one example.
The West is normalizing nazism just because the nazi are “fighting the good fight”
As for the rest of Cloudflare’s CEO statement it seems quite reasonable. As is this article.
How is it normalizing not have a complete understanding of all Nazi symbolisms and imagery?
And no one in the west have said or hinted at that Nazi’s are the “good guys” because they fight Russia or whatever, except perhaps other Nazi’s. It’s actually the opposite, many have rightly pointed out that the Nazi’s in the Azov battalion makes everything more problematic which is hardly a way to normalize something but it’s not like Ukraine have the freedom to be picky who fights for them.
I should note, if every picture of Ukrainian soldiers displaying Nazi or fascist symbols turns out be relevant and corresponding to reality I’ll eat my boots.
If Cloudflare wanted to be useful, they could disconnect their Russian customers. They can still respond to HTTP/HTTPS requests from Russia, but would no longer serve pages from Russian sites.
(preview still borken)