Crimean Internet providers block at least eight websites that are not in the official lists of the Federal Service for Communications Supervision, IT and mass communications of RF (Roskomnadzor). This was reported by press service of civil society organization “Digital Security Laboratory”.
In particular, those are websites of several Ukrainian TV channels (1tv.com.ua, ictv.ua, novy.tv, stb.ua), Ukrainian news website gordonua.com, two Crimean news websites qha.com.ua and meridian.in.ua, and, also, website of Ukrainian advocacy organization krymsos.com.
As the organization reports, the fact that those websites are blocked by the providers, not unavailable due to an error or other unrelated reasons, are confirmed by the results of testing Internet blockings and data analysis using specialized softaware OONI (Open Observatory of Network Interference). When attempting to access each of these websites, at least one Crimean Internet provider responds by displaying their blocking page.
“The results of such technical research of Internet blockings in Crimea gives grounds to claim that in Crimea there is an additional non-public list of websites to be blocked, which is not the same as the nation-wide list of Roskomnadzor”, Digital Security Laboratory specialists say.
In addition, at least one provider had 23 more websites inaccessible, yet there were no technical evidence that it was intentional blocking. Those websites included “Ukrainska pravda”, “Krym. Realii”, “Informnapalm”, website of Crimean Advocacy Group, StopFake, “Kyivpride”, and others (complete list can be found here).
All data related to measuring Internet blockings in Crimea for verification and additional analysis are available at http://api.ooni.io/, and are also available in form of csv file created by Digital Security Laboratory.
Digital Security Laboratory, in cooperation with Crimean Advocacy Group, conducted 46 tests from various places where access to Internet is secured by providers FarLine, RealWeb, Elite-Net, Giganet, Krelcom, Lankom and Sevstar, in the cities of Simferopolo and Sevastopol in August of 2018. In total, 83 websites were checked in the process of the research, including, mostly, Ukrainian and Crimean news resources, as well as websites of NGOs and advocacy organizations, the complete list of which can be found here.
OONI is specialized freeware and a global network to identify censorship in the Internet, mass surveillance and manipulations with the Internet traffic, part of The Tor Project.
Research of Internet blocking in Crimea using OONI will be conducted in future, too. Soon there will be a presentation of similar research for the territories of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts not controlled by Ukrainian Government.
For those who want to contribute to the research of Internet censorship and lives or visits Crimea, the instruction can be found here: http://bit.ly/crimea_blocks.