How the Digital Rights of Users Are Regulated in Ukraine. Overview of the Month

Over the investigated period, the SSU presented a new list of websites that it plans to restrict access to out-of-court. The list includes 58 Internet resources. Verkhovna Rada offers to introduce criminal responsibility for denying the fact of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. A number of administrators of anti-Ukrainian groups on social networks were arrested.

We regularly monitor incidents and violations of Internet freedom in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. The results of the monitoring and our analytics are available on our website:

On December 5, 2017 Internet Freedom visited Kharkiv to hold the discussion Digital Rights of Users: Protection or Prosecution. The discussion was on protecting digital rights of users. Do all Ukrainian citizens have equal access to the Internet? Is the freedom of speech on the Internet guaranteed and is it absolute? What publications on the Internet can lead to prosecution by law enforcement and are the sentences commensurate to the offences?


In the photo: Head of New Media at NGO “Internews Ukraine” Vitalii Moroz, journalist fro Hromadske.Kharkiv and human rights activist Viktor Pichuhin, lawyer and partner at Donets and Partners Dmytro Lebediev, and lawyer at Donets and Partners Artem Donets. Sourse: Nakipelo

What are the digital rights and how to protect them? Explanation based on the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. How do our fundamental rights transfer to the online platform? How are digital rights regulated in Ukraine and where to appeal if such rights were infringed, read HERE.

“The question of digital rights is the question of balance, to what extent the rights that we have offline are not infringed online,” Head of New Media at NGO “Internews Ukraine” Vitalii Moroz

Do the Actions of the Government Improve Information Security?

Websites blocked out-of-court, again. There is a new list of websites that the SSU recommends the providers to restrict access to. The list includes 58 Internet resources. The letter from the SSU to one of the providers with the recommendation to restrict access to them has been shared on the web. “The SSU has evidence against these websites, so why not get a court decision?” experts on information security say. DETAILS

“New Year’s present.” Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko said earlier that some of the pro-Russian websites will stop their activities in Ukraine by the end of the year. READ

Will people be prosecuted for denying Russian aggression against Ukraine? Verkhovna Rada included the draft law that provides for introduction of criminal responsibility for public denial of the fact of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in the agenda. MORE HERE

Personal data may get posted on Facebook. Lviv Oblast Military Commissariat published personal information of 15,000 people who are subject to conscription for regular military service on Facebook who for some reason failed to turn up at local military commissariat offices. Which rights did the agency violate by publishing the lists of conscripts? READ HERE

Facebook blocked an online media outlet for five hours. informed about mass bot attack on Facebook, which led to the page of the media outlet to be blocked for five hours, and all posts with links to to be deleted from the editorial account. Dozens of Ukrainian users unintentionally and automatically became spammers. WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
A five-year prison sentence. The SSU arrested the officer who came from the occupied Crimea who deserted and became an FSB informer sentencing him to five years in prison. According to the SSU, he joined the DNR militants in May 2014 and became a journalist for separatist online media outlets Politnavigator and Russkaya Vesna. MORE

“We lack understanding of the rules on the Internet,” journalist for Hromadske.Kharkiv and human rights activist Viktor Pichuhin

Fake petitions became popular. A mechanism for artificial increasing of the number of votes for the petition to impeach the President of Ukraine submitted at the website of the executive committee of Ivano-Frankivsk city council was uncovered. The SSU informs that publicizing information about such a petition [gaining votes] has a sole aim to further destabilize the situation in the country. FIND OUT MORE

Volunteers do not make the HQ of ATO happy. The HQ of ATO asks not to share information and photo or video materials about the progress of tactical and operational actions (change of location and positions, information about units, advancement etc.) “Several days ago there was a precedent when one of the volunteers published the information untimely, which endangered the safety and lives of personnel,” HQ of ATO SAID.

Administrators of Vkontakte groups arrested. The SSU informed about stopping the activities of three people from Kyiv, Ternopil, and Cherkasy who were administrators of anti-Ukrainian groups on Vkontakte. DETAILS

No Internet. How the critical Internet infrastructure is incapacitated and if the entire country could lose Internet access, READ HERE

Kremlin Strikes Back and the Ukrainian Media

Harm America. Russian State Duma will adopt a resolution to prohibit journalists of all American media to come to the lower house of the Russian parliament. Russia thinks that his step is a ‘symmetrical response’ for depriving RT journalists of accreditation in US Congress after the channel was registered as a ‘foreign agent.’ READ IN DETAIL

List of ‘foreign agents’ approved. Russia approved its own list of ‘foreign agents.’ It includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, RFE/RL Ukrainian service’s project called Krym.Realii, RL Russian service’s projects called Faktografiya and Sibir.Realii, Nastoyashcheye Vremya TV channel and the others. MORE

Ukrainian ‘foreign agents’ in Russia. Journalists of the Russian service of Radio Liberty were not granted accreditation for the press-conference of Vladimir Putin. This is the result of adopting amendments to the law On Media regarding ‘foreign agents’. According to them, some media can be (and have already been) considered foreign agents by the Russian Ministry of Justice. MORE DETAILS HERE

“Protection of digital right is rather something that we’d like to have than something that we have right now,” lawyer and partner at Donets and Partners Dmytro Lebediev

Crimea is playing on Russia’s side. Crimea proposed to take pledges from American journalists ‘to write and show the truth.’ The author of the idea is not bothered by the fact that no American media has yet requested the Crimean parliament for accreditation. MORE

Telegram to be blocked in Russia. Human rights group Agora appealed to the UN. The experts of the group are convinced that the recent court decision to fine Telegram for 800,000 roubles for the refusal to provide the FBS the encryption keys may be the evidence of plans to block Telegram in the future. READ MORE

In the previous overview, we summed up six months after the blocking of Russian Internet resources. The overview is available here.

The overview has been written by NGO “Internews Ukraine” as part of implementing the project Internet Freedom in Ukraine: Supporting the Principles of Freedom of Speech and Security in the Time of Conflict.”


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