Internet Sanctions on Russian Media: Actions and Effects

Authors: John Kristoff (University of Illinois Chicago), Moritz Müller (SIDN Labs and University of Twente), Arturo Filastò (OONI), Max Resing (University of Twente), Chris Kanich (University of Illinois Chicago), Niels ten Oever (University of Amsterdam)

Year: 2024
Issue: 1
Pages: 1–12

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Abstract: As a response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the European Union (EU), through the notion of ‘digital sovereignty,’ imposed sanctions on organizations and individuals affiliated with the Russian Federation that prohibit broadcasting content, including online distribution. In this paper, we interrogate the implementation of these sanctions and interpret them as a means to translate the union of states’ governmental edicts into effective technical countermeasures. Through longitudinal traffic analysis, we construct an understanding of how ISPs in different EU countries attempted to enforce these sanctions, and compare these implementations to similar measures in other western countries. We find a wide variation of blocking coverage, both internationally and within individual member states. We draw the conclusion that digital sovereignty through sanctions in the EU has a concrete but distinctly limited impact on information flows.

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