Ukraine alone in allowing Internet domain owners to remain anonymous

According to the Head of the Internet Association of Ukraine, Oleksandr Olshansky, Ukraine is now the only country in the world where information about the owners of Internet domains remains secret. Mr Olshansky was commenting on the decision by the Technical Administrator of the UA domain of Hostmaster to restrict access to the service whois. The company was, in this way, seeking to comply with the requirements of the Law on Personal Data Protection.

The discussion regarding whether this decision was called for took place during the VII Congress “Ukraine on the Road to the Information Society”.  According to the Administrator of the UA domain, Dmytro Kokhmanyuk, the law prohibits the passing of private information regarding the owners of domains without their consent to third parties. 

An information request was sent to the Ministry of Justice asking whether it was necessary to close whois but no answer was received.

According to Valery Pekar, Vice President of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the State Service for Personal Data Protection received “powers similar to those of the law enforcement agencies”, therefore the closing of the data on whois was necessary to avoid possible difficulties. He was supported in this view by Oleksandr Olshansky who said that traditionally any unclear wording in Ukrainian laws is not interpreted in favour of business.

However the Deputy Head of the newly-created State Service for Personal Data Protection, Volodymyr Kozak, expressed surprise at the decision to close access to data about domain owners. He pointed out that the law should be applied bearing in mind “the level of risk”. “If this server works in the entire world, then nobody would close it”.

He also tried to appeal to the representatives of EU countries present at the Congress, calling on them to support his premise about agreeing the provisions of the law with the practice of regulating this issues in Europe. These words aroused restrained surprise from the foreign guests present.

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