April 25 — May 01, 2015
Kyrgyzstan bans voters who have not submitted their biometrics
In Kyrgyzstan, the government barred citizens who have not submitted their biometric data from voting in presidential and parliamentary elections. The press service of the president confirmed that President Almazbek Atambaev approved all necessary legislative amendments to introduce the ban. Kyrgyzstani citizens can now vote only after submitting biometric data to the government. Kyrgyzstani authorities started collecting biometrics in August 2014, after adopting the Biometric registration law in July 2014. This law requires citizens to submit fingerprints, a digital photo, and a handwritten signature in order be included in voter rolls. Citizens, concerned about the eventual use and security of their data, believe that submitting this data as a prerequisite for voting violates their rights.
Russian anti-piracy law comes into force
On May 1st 2015, Russia will bring into force an anti-piracy law adopted in August 2013. The new legislation applies to all intellectual property except photographs and allows the permanent blocking of infringing websites. Intellectual property owners can now follow an out-of-court process to protect their rights. Starting May 1st, website owners must disclose their contact information, including their physical and email addresses, on the website. Intellectual property holders will be able to contact websites to request the removal of pirated content within one day. Website owners must comply with the request or face blocking. Internet users on the RuNet are concerned about the out-of-court procedure which creates the opportunity to put pressure on websites without judicial oversight. Website owners also worry about collateral damage; authorities usually engage in IP blocking which can affect hundreds of websites in addition to the targeted one.
Azerbaijan continues to expand its e-government services
On April 29th, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree to establish a unified electronic system to enable citizens to apply for information and submit documents online. According to the decree, the system will establish electronic documents circulation and unified electronic record keeping for all government departments. Additionally, authorities plan to integrate services of the Ministry of Agriculture into the e-government portal to monitor agriculture, register farmers, monitor subsidies, and maintain transparency in this sector. Development of the e-government portal is now one of the priorities to promote interaction between the government, citizens, and private sector. E-services facilitate the use of government services, facilitate cooperation with the government, and increase government transparency.
Kyrgyz Constitutional Chamber finds mass surveillance legal
In February 2015, Kyrgyz operator Winline took action in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court against the law requiring all ISPs to install the surveillance system SORM. SORM is a technical system used to monitor telephone and Internet communications. The Chamber found that the use of SORM for the mass surveillance of communications is legal. Winline claimed that 24-hour surveillance violates constitutional rights to privacy as well as puts businesses on unfavourable position by requiring them to install expensive SORM equipment. The Chamber ruled that the requirement to install SORM is legal and reasonably limits the constitutional freedom of a the right to privacy in order to protect national security.
Russia to issue electronic internal passports
Nikolai Nikiforov, the Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, announced that the Ministry is ready to issue electronic internal ID cards to replace the current internal passports. The contactless cards, which will contain the bearer’s full name, address, photograph, date and place of birth, sex, ID number, taxpayer ID number, and insurance number, are planned for wide release on July 1st should they receive final legislative approval, which could come in the form of a presidential decree or a Duma amendment to existing legislation. In terms of security, Nikiforov claims the new ID cards are more secure than regular paper internal passports which are in use now. The Ministry launched its pilot project on April 28th in Crimea, with Sevastopol, Rostov, and Krasnodar soon to follow.