May 02 — 08, 2015
Law on open data comes into force in Ukraine
On May 1st, new legislation on open data came into force in Ukraine. The law obliges all government departments to publish their data and keep it up to date. All data is open and free for public use including publishing, copying, and further dissemination. According to the legislation, the Cabinet of Ministers must complete all necessary paperwork and arrange the development of a unified e-government portal within three months. The Cabinet will also determine all types of data to be published. Data open to the public will include state purchasing data, state registers, and data from all government departments. Granting widespread access to government spending is an important step towards transparency and stronger public oversight over public institutions in Ukraine.
Uzbekistan launches WiFi at historical monuments
Uzbektelecom, state mobile operator of Uzbekistan, is improving access to public WiFi access in Uzbekistan. Access to publicly available WiFi will first appear at all national historical monuments. The operator says that it will charge for public WiFi access and this service is mainly for tourists. Users will need to purchase pre-paid cards to connect to the Internet. According to the existing plan, access cards will provide connection at 27 sites across the country. Uzbektelekom already provides connection at airports, hotels, museums and other tourist areas. Public WiFi in Uzbekistan is not free of charge and Internet users complain that prices for the Internet connection are unjustifiably high.
Russia approves information security agreement with China
The Government of the Russian Federation approved an information-security agreement with China that establishes cooperation between the two countries in the field of international information security. The agreement emphasises that included in the main international threats to both countries are terrorist and extremist propaganda which undermines social, political and economic order. Both Russia and China agree that ICT technology is a primary propagator of this material. Internet users in Russia worry that this agreement will lead to greater control and censorship on the RuNet, specifically that Russia will look to deploy technology similar to China’s Great Firewall or Golden Shield.
Belarus unites regional media outlets
Belarus is implementing a state plan to bring online state media to the masses. Largely unread within the country, the Ministry of Information of Belarus launched an online portal which unites all state media outlets with the aim of increasing readership and market penetration. The main goal is to unite audience of state media and increase their confidence in state media outlets. The portal aggregates content from newspapers, national TV channels, radio channels, and their websites which allows users to access materials from all state-owned media on the same website. The portal provides access to more than 200 media outlets as well as access to digital broadcasts of national TV channels. Some media representatives are concerned that the main aim of the portal is to force independent media out of local Belarusian Internet sites.
Azerbaijan to integrate e-services and e-government
To improve e-services, Azerbaijan will integrate two main online portals: e-government, operated by the Data Computing Center, and electricity e-services, operated by public company Azerishyg. The Data Computing Center (DCC) of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan announced that negotiations regarding the integration had finished and the services would be consolidated into one platform. E-government users will be able to pay electricity bills online, apply to connect to the electrical system, apply for certificates regarding electricity bills payments, and apply for electric meter codes to register as a subscriber. Authorities aim to minimise opportunities for petty bribery by formalising a transparent process of interactions between citizen and official.