Our Association submitted information for report of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on internet shutdowns and human rights to be presented the fiftieth session of the HRC in June 2022. Association pointed that such ‘ban’ for Crimean residents’ access to Internet services is possible in framework of the activities of the so called “Crimean territorial bodies” of the “Roskomnadzor”. As Russia-controlled Crimean Internet providers, in order not to “fall out of favor” themselves, are forced to respond in a timely manner to the “instructions” of “Roskomnadzor”, regarding the blocking of various sites and to monitor additions to the “black list of Roskomnadzor”.
Association informed the UN High Commissioner that, in addition to “Roskomnadzor”, other structures, for example, the Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office, are also involved in tracking the appearance on the Internet of the information, undesirable for the invaders’ “authorities”. Assistance to the invaders’ punitive “bodies” and “Roskomnadzor” is provided by the so-called “cyber-vigilantes” – members of a “voluntary youth organizations”, engaged in manual monitoring of social networks in search of “prohibited content”. Since 2017, the “cyber-squads” began to be formed by the Russian invaders’ “bodies” in Crimea. For example, the convulsive attempts of the Yalta “administration” in 2017-2018 to “organize an appropriate process” were described and the activities of the “cyber squads” at the invaders-controlled “Sevastopol State University” and “Sevastopol Industrial and Technological College” were noticed by Associations’ report.
Association stressed that other form of control over the Crimean Internet providers is their enforced uniting to the “professional associations”, under full control of the Russia-controlled “authorities”. For example, 14 Crimean Internet providers are participants of the so called “Association of Cable Telecommunication Operators of the Crimea”, under full control of Russian special services. At the same time situation with the provision of the Crimean population with information transmitted by terrestrial, cable and satellite television channels is fully Russia-controlled via local “administrations” and federal news corporations.
ARC pointed to the UN High Commissioner that issues of Internet shutdowns in the Crimea, caused by the Russian invaders’ policy, must be reflected in the UN General Secretary annual reports regarding human rights situation in the Crimea and in the next Crimea-related resolutions of the General Assembly.