More haste, less speed – Draft Law 6688 update

July 10, 2018

A few days ago an entry appeared expressing concern regarding some very woolly draft legislative text relating to the ability of the SBU,prosecutors or investigators to block/shut down/ban websites for 48 hours without any judicial involvement, and that therefore appeared prime for abuse – “aimed at infringing public safety; intimidating the population;  provoking military conflict, international difficulties; influencing decision-making, the carrying out of actions or inaction of public authorities or local self-government bodies by officials of those bodies, civic associations, legal entities to attract public attention to the specific political, religious or other views of the perpetrator

As the entry linked above stated, not only might this draft prose rub uncomfortably against the fundamental right to freedom of expression granted by the Constitution of Ukraine, it could also very easily have a fractious relationship with Ukraine’s international obligations per Article 10 of the European Human Rights Act.

Potential problems in giving SBU officers, prosecutors and investigators the ability to ban websites for 48 hours without a judicial input are surely more easily resolved by having a 24/7 “on call” system for judges whereby there is always one on call and available if the closing/banning/blocking of a website is so desperately urgent.

No doubt Vice Prime Minister for European Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze is tired of reiterating to Ukrainian legislators, that new legislation should consider European norms when they are written.  The blog knows for a fact it is a drum she repeatedly beats – and it is a drum that often goes unheard.

One of the major questions posed in the previous related entry was why all of a suddenly a draft law submitted a year ago has suddenly found great momentum – particularly when there are such obvious areas that require some attention.

Whatever the haste, there now appears to be less speed – and rightly so.

One of the authors of Draft Law 6688 has stated that the text relating to the ability to ban websites for 48 hours without any judicial input will be removed.

Further, and no doubt Ms Klympush-Tsintsadze will be pleased, the authors have decided to seek and involve experts in matters cyber from the OSCE, EU and NATO – for clearly a number of cyber matters are a national security issue.  It must be hoped that some very woolly prose with a clear ability to be misued will also be revisited.

It still remains unclear as to the mens rea behind forcing this draft law to the top of the Verkhovna Rada agenda after a year sat gathering dust since it was submitted.  Nevertheless, this move toward more haste and less speed is a wiser course of action.


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