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19.08.2006 | Olga Goncharova

So has a stop been put to censorship on the Ukrainian Internet?

   

A number of online information sites, including Ukrainska Pravda, Madan and others have today reported information which first appeared in Friday’s “Komersant Ukraina”.  According to the latter source, the Ministry of Justice has cancelled the Order of the State Committee on Communications regarding mandatory monitoring of Internet traffic by Internet providers whose services are used by state bodies (Order of the State Committee on Communications No. 122 from 17 June 2002).  This would mean that the Security Service which initiated this document would no longer be able to legally monitor correspondence and statistics from these providers regarding who had visited which websites.

“Yes, this Order has been cancelled and the documents have been sent to the Ministry of Transport and Communications which has ten days in which to appeal against the decision”, an employee of the Ministry said.  According to “Komersant” the decision of the Ministry of Justice is dated 4 August.

However if one checks the official website of the Ministry and the Ukrainian database of legislation on the Verkhovna Rada website, no amendments to the Order of the State Committee on Communications No. 122 from 17 June 2002

As reported earlier, the Ministry of Justice, responding to an approach made by the Internet Association of Ukraine questioning the legality of the issue of this Order stated that it considered the Order to be entirely lawful, however later, on 23 November 2005, replying to a letter from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union on the same subject, the Ministry said that the Order was not lawful.

The letter stated that “At the same time, with regard to the issue of the Order of the State Committee for Communications No. 122 of 17.06.2002, we would state that the Ministry of Justice in a letter dated 13 October 2005 No. 37229-24 called upon the Ministry of Transport and Communications within a five-day period to declare no longer in force the Order No.122 of the State Committee for Communications and Computerization of Ukraine from 17.06.2002. In the event that the above-mentioned Order is not brought into compliance with current legislation, the Ministry of Justice will begin procedure for revoking the decision on State registration of normative legal acts included in the State Register which were affirmed by the Order No. 32/5 of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine from 31.07.2000.”  (the original can be found at: http//www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php&id=1132741095)

However, as of the present day Order No. 122 has not been revoked!

.Yet why is information again appearing in the media about cancellation of this order?  In our opinion, this is simply a game played by officials or an attempt to pass on sensational information to journalists.

According to data from the Department of Statistics, the computer communications market in Ukraine in 2005 was worth 1 billion UH. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications services in transmitting information and access to the Internet were provided by around 500 companies.

Order No. 122 passed by the State Committee for Communications and Computerization of Ukraine (SCCCU) on 17 June 2002 obliges all Internet providers rendering services to state bodies to install on their networks at their own expense monitoring equipment. According to information from the SCCCU, the Ministry of Transport, these conditions have been fulfilled by Ukrtelekom (in the Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odessa regions, and in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea), “Golden Telecom”, “Adamant”. “City Net”, “Lucky Net”, “Ukrsat”, “Elvisti”, “Global Ukraine” and “Infocom”.

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