June 06-12, 2015
Russia blocks anonymizers
Russian Internet and Media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, blocked anonymizers for a popular Russian social network, VKontakte. Roskomnadzor received a request to block two anonymizing services from the Prosecutor General’s Office. Services Netzamku.ru and Vkho.ru are now on Roskomnazor’s black list. The Prosecutor General’s Office claims that both anonymizing services are used for anonymous access to a VKontakte group Misanthropic Division (MD). The group on VKontakte is associated with an extremist group from Ukraine which is banned in Russia. Websites of MD are inaccessible but the page on social network still exists and can be accessed with anonymizers. Russian legislation currently does not ban anonymizers but proposals to ban them are regularly voiced in the Parliament.
Tajikistan unblocks social networks
ISPs unblocked social networks in Tajikistan. ISPs claim that the government decided to unblock social networks before the upcoming international Water for Life conference which takes place in Tajikistan on June 9th – 11th, 2015. On May 29th, 2015 the authorities requested to block access to Facebook, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and YouTube for users in Tajikistan. Also, users could not access websites of Radio Free Europe in Tajikistan and ASIA-Plus news agency. The reason for blockings may have been a video of a former special police forces officer from Tajikistan, explaining why he joined ISIS and his negative views on the relationship between Tajikistan, the USA and Russia. Tajikistan has a history of blockings which is worrying as it limits access to information and social networks for all users.
Russian IT companies protest online blockings
Russian IT companies and hosting providers opposed current regulation on website blockings. Russian Internet Ombudsman, Dmitry Marinichev, received a letter from the IT business community asking him to assist in arranging a constructive discussion with authorities. A letter signed by 36 IT-companies and hosting providers outlines the main issues they are having with the current system for blockings. According to the current legislation, hosting providers must block illegal content after a request from Roskomnadzor. However, it is often not technically possible to block a specific page and hosting providers have to block an entire website. Hosting providers also claim that the legislation and mechanism for blockings are too broad, which leaves room for mass blockings.
Belarus to introduce criminal liability for teenage hackers
President of the Supreme Court of Belarus, Valentin Sukalo, introduced amendments to the Criminal Code in the Parliament. Amendments to the Criminal Code will introduce criminal liability for teenage hackers. Belarusian Parliament adopted proposed amendments in the first reading. The bill will introduce criminal liability from the age of 14 for hacking bank accounts and stealing money from bank accounts using computer equipment. Valentin Sukalo noted that, while the number of bank account hackings increased recently and often teenagers were involved, the current legislation did not allow to prosecute teenage hackers.
Ukraine to receive financing for e-government
Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine and Ukrainian State Agency on E-governance signed a memorandum on the establishment of the e-governance in Ukraine. Switzerland agreed to provide $4.5 mln for the Ukrainian e-governance program “E-governance for Accountability and Participation”. The program will receive Swiss state funds and must be completed by 2019. First, Ukraine will launch e-government portals in Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Vinnitsa and Volyn’. Swiss Cooperation Office claims that the program is a necessary step for transparency and accountability of the Ukrainian government. Wider introduction and adoption of e-governance is entrusted with lowering the risks of corruption and increasing public participation in political life within the country.