Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Access Now stands with the people of Ukraine as they endure Russia’s large-scale military invasion targeting population centers across the country, alongside ongoing cyberattacks impacting critical services and infrastructure.
Digital right violations enable and escalate offline violence, and the calculated attacks targeting digital systems essential to people’s safety and wellbeing are unacceptable.
We also stand in solidarity with the activists, journalists, and human rights defenders in Russia and Belarus fighting to ensure people in their countries have access to the truth, as well as the platforms necessary to voice their dissent and mobilize for peace and democracy.
Civil society actions
Digital security guides
Ukraine’s online space has been targeted by Russia through cyberattacks since before the war. It is believed Russian authorities have:
- Targeted Ukraine’s essential public service infrastructure through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
- Cut off online and mobile service in the occupied Kherson and replaced it with Russian services.
Authorities in Ukraine and beyond have responded by:
- Launching a national roaming service that allows subscribers to switch to other operators’ networks if they are unable to access their own operator’s.
- Engaging with international volunteer professionals to legally test information systems for the presence of vulnerabilities, also known as a Bug Bounty program.
- Opening up the use of SpaceX technology to everyone in Ukraine, previously only accessible to the military.
- Crowdsourcing digital evidence of war crimes.
- Launching the Keep Ukraine Connected project in partnership with NOG Alliance.
Online censorship and crackdowns on dissent voices have been escalating further in Russia since the beginning of war. Russian authorities have:
- Introduced a “fake news” law that punishes media, bloggers, and others for spreading information about the invasion that contradicts the official governmental position with heavy fines and up to 15 years imprisonment, forcing prominent independent media, including Nobel Peace Prize winning Novaya Gazeta, to close down or temporarily cease operations.
- Labeled Meta an “extremist organization,” outlawing Facebook and Instagram.
- Blocked Twitter and compelled TikTok to cease livestreaming or allowing new content to its video functions.
- Increased the list of banned VPNs.
- Blocked over 3,000 websites, including several news media websites, Amnesty International’s and Human Rights Watch’s websites.
- Demanded wikipedia remove information about the war in Ukraine.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authorities had:
Digital rights violations enable and escalate offline violence, deepening humanitarian crises. Our latest brief recaps key developments at the 49th United Nations Human Rights Council, guiding delegates in next steps for advancing global norms and standards to protect digital rights. …21 April 2022