Playing with Fire. Ukraine under the Threat of Pretrial Blocking of Websites. Overview of the Month

Ukraine is constantly moving towards more regulation of the Internet. The period covered by the overview is rich in both initiatives on blocking websites and specific actions from law enforcement and legislators. In our overview, read why it is important to prevent the introduction of pretrial blocking of websites in Ukraine, how Ukraine dealt with the largest cyber attack in history, and why the level of freedom on the Internet decreased in Ukraine in times of the war.

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:

Attempts to legalize pretrial blocking of websites are being made in Ukraine

Two bills were registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on July 10 and July 12. They endanger free development of the Internet in Ukraine and create a threat of extrajudicial blocking of Internet resources.

The first — #6676 On Introducing Changes to Certain Legislative Acts on Countering Threats to National Security in Information Sphere. It was initiated by the members of the coalition, deputies Andriy Teteruk (People’s Front) and Ivan Vinnyk (Petro Poroshenko Bloc). The second — #6688 with the same title. It also has Ivan Vinnyk from Petro Poroshenko Bloc, as well and Dmytro Tymchuk and Tetiana Chornovol from the People’s Front among its initiators.

Internet Freedom project supports the joint statement of NGOs on these draft laws, and demands:

  • to withdraw bills #6678 and #6688;
  • to have leaders of Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People’s Front factions explain the official position of the factions on these draft laws;
  • involve NGOs not affiliated with businesses or political powers in discussing legislative initiatives regarding Internet regulation


Russia is not an option. Why legalizing pretrial blocking of websites endangers free development of the Internet in Ukraine. ANALYSIS

Beware of Created by Russia to bypass the blocking, the website endangers personal data of the users. In one month, the website had 3.8 mln visits, 90% of them from Ukraine. MORE HERE

The SSU blocks websites in an unclear way. According to the reports from the SSU, the officers managed to disrupt the plans of a foreign secret service to use a network of over 10 websites to spread Russian propaganda and destructive materials among Ukrainians. It is currently unclear which websites were blocked and in which way. We are following the developments in this case. DETAILS

The Ministry of Information Policy announced 20 websites to be blocked. The list includes such websites as Russkaya Vesna (Russian Spring), News-Front, Novorossiya, Kharkiv News Agency, Antifashist, Antimaidan, Luhansk Information Center, Novorossiya Today, Politnavigator, and other information resources that support the militants and promote separatism in Ukraine. HOW POPULAR ARE THESE WEBSITES?

Could #1 cyber attack in the history of Ukraine have been prevented?

Backup is a must-have. How do the experts identify the key strong sides and gaps in Ukraine’s response to a mass virus attack that started on June 27? What to do to prevent cyber attacks from happening again? READ HERE

100 more bitcoin ($256,000) for decrypting data. Hackers who claim to be the authors of Petya virus addressed the victims. DETAILS

Stage two of cyber attack prevented. On July 4, special agents of cyber police department together with the experts from the SSU and municipal prosecutor’s office prevented the second stage of Petya virus cyber attack. The police seized servers of M.E.Doc. MORE

Sometimes, there is a chance to restore information on computers affected by Petya. If your computer has been affected by Petya and the data is completely encrypted, it is most likely impossible to restore it. However, if the virus did not manage to finish the encryption on your computer, there is the chance to restore information. WHAT TO DO?

The target of the virus was infrastructure, not money. Why did it make no sense to pay $300 for restoring data? READ HERE

How did computers get Petya? Cyber police says, there were two ways: fishing and updates of M.E.Doc program. MORE


Launched. Connection through Kerch Strait. Crimea says they don’t rely on Ukrainian Internet anymore. DETAILS

Russian fantasies: to block VPN and anonymizers. Legislators in Russia have invented a new type of anonymizers — “anonymizers, especially intended only for accessing websites of Internet casinos that are banned in Russia.” And allowed the Russian Tax Service to make decisions on blocking anonymizers, despite the fact that the corresponding law has not been adopted by the State Duma. READ MORE

Following the International Trends

Germany puts pressure on Facebook. Human rights activists emphasize the controversy of the law regarding fines for hate speech. EXPLANATION

Who wins? Telegram or Roskomnadzor? The messenger has officially been listed on the Registry of organizers of information dissemination. However, the result of the confrontation between Pavel Durov and the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) is still unclear. WHY?


Why did Ukraine start having less Internet freedom after the start of the war? Compare, how the level of Internet freedom has been changing in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. READ

Full text of the study on Regulating Internet Freedom in Time of Military Conflict. Looking for Answers for Ukraine is available HERE.

Last month, we summed up the month that had passed after the signing of ‘sanction’ decree, which provides for blocking of the Russian websites. The report 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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