09.12.2001 | D. Groysman, Vinnitsa

What to fight against: the corruption or the Internet?


On 29 March a trustworthy Ukrainian service of internet news UA – TODAY, with the reference to the UNIAN agency, informed that the head of the Ukrainian Security Service Leonid Derkach declared that the USS was going ‘to control the Internet providers’. This decision is caused by the suspicion that ‘the campaign in the newspaper ‘The Financial Times’ about the incorrect use of the IMF credits by Ukraine was prepared in Ukraine’.

According to Leonid Derkach, the information published in ‘The Financial Times’ was obtained by an informational agency in the Supreme Rada and distributed in the informational network of the Internet, after which ‘The Financial Times’ published the response. Leonid Derkach did not give the details from which sources this compromising material leaked to the press. It is interesting and indicative that the USS head sees the danger for the state not in the fact of the incorrect use of foreign credits, which now nobody tries to reject, but in the leakage of this information, which can harass the ‘cooperation’ of Ukraine with her present and potential creditors. It is obvious that the USS, whose duty is to protect human rights and the state security including the observation of laws in the economic and financial spheres, searches those who made it known. Such a gradation of priorities by the highest officer of the USS is indicative and alarming. Leonid Derkach did not explain which measures will be taken by his organization to those who distribute in the Internet the ‘harmful information’. It is also not clear what will be the methods of search of the guilty. It is not necessary to remind the reader that this is not the first attempt to restrain the freedom of information and privacy for Ukrainian users of the Internet. So, on 7 September 1999 the Supreme Rada rejected the draft of the law of Ukraine ‘On the introduction of changes to Article 4 of the law „On entrepreneurial activities“’. This draft was suggested by Leonid Kuchma and intended to oblige providers of the Internet to install the special equipment for the interception of information. Then only 20 MPs voted for this draft, while 252 voted against.

Nonetheless, the attempts to restrain the privacy of the Internet users are continuing.

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