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Ukraine ranks as partly free on the Net– Freedom House

15.10.2020, 17:23
Photo credit: Freedom House
Photo credit: Freedom House

“Freedom House” has ranked Ukraine as the partly free on the Net. This is said in this year's rating of the human right watchdog "Freedom on the Net - 2020 ", published on October 14. The report covers the period from June 2019 to May 2020.

Ukraine scored 61 points of 100 (from 0 for best 100 for worst).

"The Ukrainian government continues to block a large number of websites and certain types of content, invocating its danger to society, under claims it poses a danger to society, without actually making the case. Blocking seems to be policymakers’ only – rather than last – option," said Matthew Schaaf, director of Freedom House in Ukraine.

Thus, the report notes that in September 2019, the government removed the licensing requirement for Internet service providers, reducing the potential risks of political interference and corruption in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Freedom House also recalled two much-criticized bills that would expand their power to block websites, remove content, and otherwise influence the information landscape.

In addition, the report says that in May 2020, The government blocks numerous websites. Sanctions implemented in 2017 against several Russian-owned web platforms — including VKontakte (VK), Odnoklassniki (OK), and Mail.ru — and websites deemed to contain Russian propaganda were prolonged by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in May 2020 for another three years, while sanctions against the Russia-affiliated companies Dr.Web, Kaspersky, and Yandex were extended for one year.

The organization also noted that in response to COVID-19, the government launched the "Act at Home" application to check whether people were isolating themselves. The application stores users' location data and their digital image. Both the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police have access to this data, as the report said.

Freedom House notes that the assessment of the human rights conditions online in Ukraine has significantly improved due to the fact that this year's Freedom on the Net analysis “has excluded Eastern Donbas”. While also, freedom indices in Ukraine have not significantly evolved, as to the report.

It will be recalled that in 2019, Ukraine received 56 points , according to the Freedom House report .

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