Ukraine has an online censorship problem
The conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine lit the fire of online censorship in Ukraine. Online freedom has been in sharp decline ever since.
In 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament approved a draft bill that enables blocking websites deemed threatening to national security without a court ruling. Separatist authorities blocked access to over 100 media websites by pressuring local ISPs to implement these orders.
Hundreds of websites, including popular Russian social media platforms, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, were blocked. Ukrainian authorities were also committed to stopping the spread of fake news and targeted various Russian-speaking forums and articles. A lot of pages, however, were affected as collateral damage, with entire domain names being blocked just because one page hosted to so-called “undesired content”.
The law also states that internet providers need to buy equipment for monitoring traffic. And this should be no surprise, since the criminal code in Ukraine mandates punishment for those who commit "unauthorized actions" online. ISPs are also given a time-frame of just 24 hours to comply with the authorities’ decision to block certain content. As far as punishments go, offenders are fined but the exact amount is open to interpretation.
And although ISPs in Ukraine don’t comply with the European mandatory data retention law, they store user activity under the guise of record keeping. It’s not very transparent how long or where these are stored. This is a clear breach of online privacy.
Your entire browsing history, your online preference, and your data are kept. But with no clear laws to mandate online data protection, these companies have no reason to regulate online privacy for you.
Torrents are a slippery slope in Ukraine
Ukrainian Internet Service Providers didn’t traditionally monitor P2P activity. Downloading copyrighted material in the country was generally overlooked if it wasn’t redistributed commercially. However, this all changed when the International Intellectual Property Alliance stepped in to claim that Ukraine wasn’t doing its part to put a stop to online piracy.
Under threats like losing GSP trade benefits, Ukraine stepped up its game and created a cyberpolice unit in 2015. It immediately ordered blocks and bans on pirated material and targeted file-sharing services. Among them, popular torrent sites like The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent became inaccessible within Ukrainian borders.
In 2019, over 100 sites have been shut down, as authorities are trying to clamp out online piracy. Both the EU and foreign police departments keep encouraging Ukrainian authorities to uphold ever tighter anti-piracy laws.
And while there still aren’t any clear laws on how online piracy should be punished, Ukrainian law states that the copyright infringement penalty should range between 10 to 200 of untaxed minimum income.
On the other hand, US copyright holders have already taken the Ukrainian founder of Kickass Torrent to court with distributing over $1 billion worth of illegally copied films, music, and other content.
This should give you an idea of what the US authorities are considering appropriate legal consequences for online piracy. And don’t forget, they’re suggesting the same to Ukrainian copyright holders.
You have to protect yourself on Ukrainian Wi-Fi networks
Here are two facts you need to be aware of:
- Public Wi-Fi networks are some of the easiest targets for hackers.
- Ukraine is home to some of the world’s most dangerous hackers.
Every time you go online using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, your data is at risk. Brute force attacks, spoof attacks, and man-in-the-middle attacks are all too common on public Wi-Fis and can easily expose your data to third parties.
This is especially worrying when you consider that cybercrime is on the rise in Ukraine. Ukrainian businesses, government websites, and national infrastructure have been frequently the targets of cyberattacks.
Ukraine was also temporarily disrupted by a ransomware attack in June 2017. This malicious software was called Petya, and it spread across the country on the eve of the anniversary of the adoption of Ukraine’s constitution. This lead many to believe that the attack was political in nature, not financial.
This attack destabilized telecommunication companies, government ministries, banks, and other vital infrastructure. Ukrainian security services still claim the country is vulnerable to future attacks of such a scope.
But if you use CyberGhost VPN, you can secure yourself online. Our military-grade encryption offers the best protection available and even today’s supercomputers can’t get past it. On top of that, to make sure you’re always protected, our apps have a feature automatically starting a VPN connection every time you log to a Wi-Fi.
How to unblock geo-restricted content from Ukraine
Geo-restrictions can be frustrating, especially when they’re applied to a service you’re paying for. Like Netflix. It’s not a secret that watching it from Ukraine means you can only access a limited part of the streaming catalog.
However, with our VPN service by your side, that’s no longer the case.
You see, all streaming platforms apply their restrictions by identifying your geographical location based on your IP address. CyberGhost VPN allows you to hide your IP address and replace it with another one from our network.
This way, their localization software will no longer be able to detect your real location, and all their content will be made available to you.
Get ready to watch whatever you want!
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If you need further guidance, reach out to Customer Support team. They can handle your requests in English, French, German, and Romanian. What’s more, our customer service is available 24/7 via live chat or email.
The use of a VPN is 100% legal. However, illegal activities are still illegal, even if you use a VPN.
CyberGhost VPN is the ideal VPN for Ukrainian expats, people living in the country, or traveling abroad. With us as your VPN provider, you get much more than just a chance to unblock streaming services, watch sporting events or access websites.
We give you state-of-the-art security features such as military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and DNS-leak protection. We also have a strict No logs policy in place.
By using 256-bit AES encryption, we keep your online traffic safe and secure, away from snoopers or hackers.
For more information on the importance of digital privacy and anonymity, check out our Privacy Hub.
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