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29.12.2003

“The constitutional right of citizens for privacy of correspondence is violated, and the guilty must be punished”

   

The agency “Interfax”:

There are about ten Internet-hosts in Ukraine that are equipped with the monitoring facilities, stated Anatoliy Gerasimov, a deputy head of the USS, at the public hearings on the draft of the Law “On monitoring of telecommunications”, which was held on 26 November 2003. Among them four Internet-hosts are owned by registered providers, who have the right to render services to state organs (“GlobalUkraine”, "Infokom", “Elvisti” and "UkrSat").

According to Order No. 122 of the State communication committee of 17 June 2002, one of the conditions of inclusion of a provider in the register is the installation of the equipment for monitoring.

At the same time, the expert evaluations were stated during the discussion. The experts assert that there are about 50 Internet-hosts with such equipment.

Aleksey Bursuk, the head of the Internet-providing company “Relkom-Ukraina”, believes that installation of the monitoring equipment on the Internet-hosts is illegal, since the law “On monitoring of telecommunications” is not adopted yet. “Thus, the constitutional right of citizens for privacy of correspondence is violated, and the guilty must be punished”, he reckons.

The human rights protecting organizations and the Internet association of Ukraine (IAU) expressed the similar opinions.

“We have already drew the attention of state organs to the fact that Order No. 122 contradicts the Ukrainian Constitution and international agreements, and got the answer that this situation must be studied in details”, said Igor Diadiura, a member of the board of the IAU.

About 400 Internet providers are working in Ukraine, and the great providing companies own several Internet-hosts.

(“Podrobnosti”, 27 November 2003, 13:16)

***

International human rights protecting organization “Reporters without frontiers” expressed its anxiety about the attempts of the USS to control the activities in the Internet and to control the electronic correspondence.

The value of everything private is not quite understandable to us, the people, who lived in the Soviet Union. Maybe, this is the reason, why almost nobody protests against the preparation of the new law draft, owing to which the USS will have the opportunity to wiretap phones and to control the electronic correspondence. Yet, the inert reaction of our citizens is also caused by the incomprehension of the terms “monitoring” and “register of the Internet users”, as well as the undisguised indifference to this question of the majority of Ukrainian population.

Meanwhile, the IAU complained to the OBCE and presented the alternative report at the conference in Warsaw. It is obvious that some state structures are interested in the creation of the system of total control.

In the opinion of Robert Menar, the general secretary of “Reporters”, the Internet became the main target of the USS activities. He mentioned the attempts of the state organs to deprive the company “Hostmaster” of the right to administer the Ukrainian domain .ua and the activities of the USS for the legalization of monitoring.

If the providers and telephone stations would install the equipment for informational monitoring and would register the Internet users, then the freedom of speech would be extirpated soon. Such control by special services is not only a violation of ethical norms and constitutional rights, but also a violation of the main principles of business, in particular, the principle of commercial secret. The special services always tried “to take the preventive measures”, but even in Soviet times the prosecutor’s warrant was needed for realization of such initiatives, and the control was not so total as now. It is strange, why the special services want to interfere legally in our private life now, when Ukraine is striving for democracy?

Even if the providers would break the agreements with their clients, which agreements restrict the right to control the users, and would begin to realize the monitoring, this would need much time and serious financing.

Yet, some informational control in the Internet may be carried out even now: several commands from the provider’s server are enough for reading an electronic message. The search system can be used, which would find the messages by key words. If a letter contains some words from the special list, then a copy of this letter would be sent to the monitoring center. At that, nobody guarantees the protection from correction, i.e. changing the contents of e-mail: the messages can be changed or lost.

(«Podrobnosti», No. 43, 6 November 2003)

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