Parliament increased liability for damaging telecommunications networks
Last week, the Verkhovna Rada upheld the Draft Law № 2654 on strengthening the protection of telecommunication networks in the first reading. At the same time, MPs supported the initiative to reduce the deadline for submitting amendments and proposals to this draft law upon the next reading (up to 7 days).
The draft law proposes to strengthen criminal and administrative liability for the destruction of digital infrastructure. These include, for example, theft of equipment and cutting of telecommunication cables, which lead to a partial or total suspension in providing telecommunication services, access to the Internet, which in turn impedes interpersonal communication with the usual means of communication. It is especially critical for the quarantine period, as most people switch to working and communicating online.
Thus, intentional damage or destruction of telecommunication networks that led to the termination of telecommunication services will be sanctioned with a fine of 17 thousand to 51 thousand UAH or restriction of freedom for a term of 1 to 3 years. For the reference, earlier the punishment implied a fine ranged from 1700 to 3400 UAH, or correctional labor for a term up to 1 year, or restraint of liberty for a term up to 2 years. If the damage did not terminate the provision of telecommunication services, the penalties are increased from 170-340 UAH to 1700-3400 UAH (for officials – up to 5100-6800 UAH).
At the same time, in case of a repeated violation or committed by a group of persons, the punishment implies imprisonment for a term of 3 to 6 years. For the actions that resulted in particularly heavy damage, the term will be increased to 6-10 years in prison.
The European Business Association is grateful that the voice of the business has been heard and the draft law was discussed in the first reading. At the same time, the business calls on the MPs to adopt the draft law as a whole in the next meeting, in order to protect the telecommunication networks and the functioning of the whole country, especially during the period of enhanced remote activities.