07/15/2017, 15.32
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Upper house gives green light to law enforcement to spy on websites visited by Tajiks

According to one lawmaker, 80 per cent of the population with access to the Internet visits terrorist sites. For one expert, the real figure is around 5 per cent, whilst 80 per cent is the percentage of Islamic State recruits approached through the internet. Tajik authorities crack down on communications.

Dushanbe (AsiaNews/Ferghana) – The upper house of Tajikistan’s parliament approved on Wednesday a lower house bill authorising law enforcement to receive information about which Internet sites citizens visit, the Asia Plus agency informs.

Ozoda Rahmon, the eldest daughter of President Emomali Rahmon and the head of the administration (chief of staff), proposed the amendments to the law ‘On Operative and Search Activity’.

This became possible after a member of the lower house Jurakhon Majidzoda stated on 7 June that more than 80 per cent of the country’s three million people with access to the Internet “visit the so-called undesirable sites belonging to extremist and terrorist organisations.” However, the source of his claim has not been revealed.

Muhammadi Ibodulloev, head of the Civil Initiative of Internet Policy” public fund, described Majidzoda’s statement as “a misunderstanding.” In his view, “Any poll on this topic will prove that it is not so. The number of such users may be about five per cent”.

Mr Ibodulloev said that the Centre for Strategic Studies noted that “more than 80 per cent of the young people, who joined the ranks of the Islamic State got there through recruiters who work, in particular, through the Internet.”

The recent move is but the latest crackdown on communications. In November 2015, the Tajik parliament approved amendments to the anti-terrorism legislation to block access to the Internet and mobile communications during anti-terrorist operations.

The State Committee for National Security can now restrict access to all kinds of electronic communications without a court order, not only in certain areas of counter-terrorism but also across the country.

In 2016 the Tajik government adopted a decree to censor TV and radio programmes, imposing criminal penalties for insulting President Rahmon.

In November, the unified switching centre began monitoring the Internet. All incoming and outgoing Internet and mobile communication traffic now goes through the centre. This allows the special services to listen directly to conversations, as well as monitor Internet traffic.

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