The coalition “Freenet Ukraine coalition” in common with human rights and media NGOs call the Security service of Ukraine (SBU) to suspend the illegitimate restrictions of the internet and to apply lawful and transparent means to fight Russian propaganda and cyber attacks, as they say in the open letter.
This reaction from the NGOs is caused by the statement made by the head of the SBU's department for counter-intelligence protection of the state's interests in the field of information security, Oleksandr Klymchuk.
He said that in the future the SBU was going to bring into being the decision of the National security and defense council of Ukraine (NSDC) and to block another 100 websites by imposing several economic sanctions.
The signatories reminded that in autumn 2018 the representatives of the Freenet Ukraine Coalition tried to find out what were the criteria for defining the websites/resources that the access is going to be blocked to. “But the both the National security and defense council and the Security service of Ukraine declined to provide a reply. The district economic court of Kyiv is hearing the case of breach to the right to public information. No arguments to ground the decline to provide an information was presented by the NSDC and the SBU to the court”. Also the signatories noticed the efficiency of measures aiming to block websites as ca counteraction to Russian propaganda is doubtful, since the websites traffic by Ukrainians is insignificant.
At the same time, there is a research
made ready by the Detektor Media before the decree signed by the President which had been aimed to block 200 websites. According to this research only 0,5% of users visited Russian websites and 0,1% of users visited the websites of so called Luhansk popular republic and Donetsk popular republic to read the news.
“In order to protect the critically important infrastructure from cyber attacks there is absolutely no need to block the websites, what the experts on cyber security and professional associations had said for several times. At the same time, the existence of an absolutely non-transparent tool restricting the internet, this is violation of Ukrainian laws and international agreements
The signatories reminded the President had brought into effect two decisions issued by the NSDC on sanctions (# 133/2017 and #126/2018) which, in particular, had a ban for the Internet providers to render services for Internet users to get access to certain resources/services”. The procedure of websites selection to “sanctional list” is totally non-transparent, as the open letter said.
The Coalition produced a detailed analysis
of legal compliance of the economic sanctions that entail “prohibiting Internet providers to let Internet users access certain resources/services, including subdomains”.
The open letter was signed by:
-Human rights platform
-Digital security laboratory
-Human rights information center
-Crimean human right group
-Freedom House – Ukraine
-Kateryna Sergatskova, media project “Interdiction”
-Civic freedoms center
-Institute of Mass Information
-Resource center GURT
-Donetsk institute of information
-“Standing point UA” (Tochka opory UA)