Inconvenient Internet: why Ukraine bans Russian experience was useful

Embarked on the path of restrictions on freedom of the web to the Ukrainian authorities will be difficult to stop. But Russian regulators Kiev only add arguments for continuing the offensive on the Runet.

Signed a decree to ban the Russian Internet services in Ukraine , President Petro Poroshenko has entered into a contest with the Kremlin in the ability to “bomb Voronezh”. I must admit that the leader of Ukrainian studies successfully and actively adopts advanced foreign experience. It is time for Ukrainians to learn VPN and proxy installed on Tor and ZenMate computers surreptitiously download FineReader and imported from abroad distributions 1C and Kaspersky antivirus.

Perhaps in the near future time, they should also expect their own “Spring Package” and the law on foreign agents, who knows? Especially that all the preparatory work is done, and you can just get it from the archives of the “laws of January 16,” Viktor Yanukovych and explain to the world why they are no longer “the laws of the dictatorship.”

War law

For five years, Ukraine has consistently dropped in the ranking of Internet freedom, human rights drawn up annually by Freedom House. Starting from the status of “free” and 27 points in 2012, in 2016 she moved to 38 points, “partly free” category. Given the methodology used compilers of the rating, the country risks losing even before the six points just for blocking social networks and services.

And there are dozens of cases of criminal prosecution of users, the adoption of laws restricting freedom of speech, publication in open access personal data criticizes the actions of the Ukrainian authorities.

For example, in 2016 to three years in prison, he was sentenced journalist Ruslan Kotsaba, calling on Ukrainians to give up the mobilization (and originally he was accused of treason, but only condemned for hindering the activity of the army). In February 2017, five years in prison received two Public Administrators in “VKontakte” accused of calling for the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and to provide information support to the separatists. By the way, Art. 110 of the Criminal Code in this part of almost verbatim repetition of Russian Art. 280.1, according to which for three years in the colony went Rafis Kashapov, criticized the annexation of the Crimea.

The OSCE has repeatedly criticized the new Ukrainian government for the deterioration of the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine, noting the ban on the entry of representatives of the Russian media, the restriction of Russian TV channels broadcast and pointing out that the law “On the Legal Status and honoring the memory of the fighters for the independence of Ukraine in the XX century” “On the condemnation of the communist and National socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibition of propaganda of their symbolism” disproportionately restrict the freedom of the media and public debate.

It is unfortunate that the Ukrainian “revolution of dignity”, so clearly demonstrated the desire for freedom and justice, leading to Internet censorship, pressure on the media and the persecution of political opponents.

One can understand the emotional desire of the Ukrainian authorities to limit the presence of the Russian information that makes all that “Ukraine has failed.” You can accept the imposition of economic sanctions on the oil and gas and aircraft-building corporation, which taxes can go to the anti-Ukrainian propaganda and support DNR and LNR. All this, of course, an internal affair of Ukraine.

However, social networking is not a gas station. Limiting the activities of “VKontakte” and “Yandex” in the country, the Ukrainian authorities to violate the rights and liberties of both their own citizens and the citizens of Russia, who have the right to impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Violation of human rights under any circumstances can not be an internal affair of the country.

Moscow is satisfied

Moreover, to create and test a system of mass blocking of Internet resources in the Russian services, the Ukrainian authorities will inevitably be tempted to use the existing infrastructure and develop a system of regulations against alternative sources of information. Will be threatened, and Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube, and all the services and Ukrainian media: such a “useful” system can not be delayed. The Kremlin also started to block ads drugs and child pornography. It all ended locked messengers, discussion of criminalizing use Tor and regular blackmail foreign service with the requirements to pass “encryption keys” to reveal users and to block one or the other disliked government post. Ukrainians clearly have something to think about.

Now we hear from the mouth of the speech of Russian officials about the “censorship”, “Restrictions on freedom of speech”, “non-rationality and stupidity” blocking “mass popular resources.” It sounds, of course, extremely hypocritical. Can not be leaders, to imprison dozens of citizens in several likes or status in “VKontakte”, creates a system of total surveillance of users discussing lock Telegram, seriously condemn own mirror.

We can hardly expect that the Russian authorities at least for propaganda reasons, wanting to look better Ukrainian, will weaken the offensive on the Runet. I never for a moment doubt that the pressure will only increase. And to justify the Russian authorities will refer it to Ukraine. As in the discussion of the “Spring Package” refers to the experience of Great Britain, or how to use the Snowden revelations to justify their actions. We say that if you are already Poroshenko closes sites and is considered to be democratic politics, we can be even more: the whole world is against us.

Author: Damir Gainutdinov, lawyer international human rights group “Agora”

Sourse, 17/05/2017

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