Kazakhstan is to become the latest country to introduce a nationwide firewall aimed at giving the government the ability to snoop on user’s encrypted communications.
China is well known for it’s intrusive and wide ranging firewall often referred to as the Great Firewall of China, but it is now evident that Kazakhstan is set to follow suit, albeit on a budget.
Come January 1st the firewall system is set to be implemented and with little fanfare. Although the New York Times originally reported the story there has been little in the way of fuss made from many other sources.
Kazakhstani internet use has exploded in recent years with latest reports from 2013 suggesting over 50% of the country are now connected in some manner. Although not large numbers in comparison to other parts of the world it makes Kazakhstan one of the most connected countries of central Asia.
While China opts for a firewall monitoring all information across a wide network, Kazakhstan is opting for a cheaper and more intrusive way of doing things. Rather than have a network wide firewall Kazakh users will apparently be required to install a security certificate on both their desktop and mobile devices that in essence will allow the authorities to intercept encrypted communications.
Along with interception it will also give the authorities of Kazakhstan the ability to block websites or services that they deem inappropriate.
All users will be required to install the national security certificate which will allow authorities to use a man in the middle attack to decipher and read encrypted data that passes between servers from outside Kazakhstan and the users that access them.
Many have questioned the need for such a system and see it as a way for the Kazakh authorities to censor access to content.
The situation may have an undesired twist once it goes ahead. Operators such as Google and Microsoft may choose to blacklist the Kazakh authorities that authorise the certificates making services from such companies completely inaccessible to Kazakhstani users.
Tough times ahead for Kazakh internet users.
Image courtesy of domdeen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net