Ukrainian authorities believe that using Russian email services could potentially “jeopardize the country’s information security.” Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.
A government official in Lviv region in western Ukraine has reportedly been sacked for using a Russian email service to conduct official correspondence related to his government work.
Ukraine Today reports that Oleksandr Krevskiy, an employee at the department of international cooperation and tourism in Lviv, had been using Russia’s Mail.Ru electronic mail service for his professional correspondence.
Halyna Hrechyn, a spokesperson for the Head of Lviv Regional State Administration, told Ukraine Today:
We received orders from the Prime Minister to limit the use of (Russian email servers) because this is official work and especially since this employee worked for the Department of International Cooperation. This isn’t his first year on this job, he knows all the restrictions.
The Lviv region governor, Oleh Synyutka, said he believes that using Russian email services could potentially “jeopardize the country’s information security,” echoing the official state line on beefing up the state’s information and communication safety measures.
In May 2015, Ukrainian activists and journalists had drawn attention to the fact that over 20% of Ukrainian government servants and state institutions were still using free email accounts provided by Russian companies and hosted on Russian servers.
Ukrainian media are reporting that the country’s security services are now investigating any possible “information leaks” as a result of Krevskiy’s use of a Russian email server, in view of the ongoing information war between Ukraine and Russia.
As RuNet Echo has previously reported, Russian Federal Security Service currently has simplified access to data transported by Russian ISPs and Russian Internet companies working with user content. On April 8, 2015 similar powers were granted to Russia’s Internet regulator Roscomnadzor, giving its employees power to track the personal messages of Russian social media and email users. This includes email services in the .ru domain, Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte (both popular Russian social network websites), instant messengers such as ICQ and Agent.Mail.Ru, and many Russian blog platforms.
Although Roskomnadzor can track received, sent, and delivered messages, and access the logs of users’ private actions online, the Internet watchdog has emphasized that Russian “anti-terrorist” legislation only grants them access to the metadata, but does not allow them to read the content of e-mails and online messages without an official law enforcement warrant.