4 Access to messenger platforms WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal was estricted
from January 4 throughout Kazakhstan, followed by the total
blocking of web resources on the next day.
On January 5th, Kazakhtelecom and Beeline shut down access of their users to both to mobile and wired Internet. Since Internet in Kazakhstan is centralized, meaning that any international traffic goes only through the networks of international telecommunications operators, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that the population of the entire country was cut off from web resources.
The access to Internet was restored , on the night of January 6th, but it didn’t last for long. News on Internet blocking in Kazakhstan was published in Telegram channels by GlobalCheck and NetBlocks .
Freedom of expression online
The events that took place on January 4-8, 2022, resulted in certain restrictions,
including in respect of
the freedom of online opinion and expression. Many representatives of the civil
society, who fulfilled their
social and professional duties to expose and document ongoing events, came under
pressure by the limbs of law.
Detainments, mass-scale summons to questioning in law enforcement authorities, arrests of journalists and bloggers, administrative penalties for publishing posts, physical attacks, and blockage of information websites – all this, without doubt, reflects violations of the right to the freedom of opinion and expression.
No access to governmental services was available during the period of the total internet shutdown. There was no access to the electronic government website as well as to any other governmental databases.
After the internet connection had been restored, e-government services were made accessible, for some exceptions. The information message published by eGov contained a statement on the possibility of interruptions in the provision of certain services, rendered by local governmental authorities.
Access to information
Access to Information
In the time of the total shutdown, which all Kazakhstani residents had to deal with, the access to public information was quite difficult. However, the government understood that keeping people in the information vacuum is not a good idea as it could produce more problems. That is why, in the midst of the events (on January 5-6), when internet was blocked throughout the entire country, citizens of Kazakhstan received actual information through TV (channels Khabar 24, Qazaqstan, and Atameken Business were operating). Mainly, they showed news on what was happening in Almaty and other regions, President's addresses, and warnings on the possible administrative and criminal liability for incitements to extremism and terrorism as well as for spreading knowingly false information and staying outside during the night-time curfew.
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
three times mentions that member states should take all appropriate measures to
provide persons with disabilities
with access to the internet.
As to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, as of October 8, 2021, more than 702, 000 persons with permanent disabilities live in Kazakhstan. ‘Nothing about Us without Us’ is the slogan of the public associations of people with disabilities. These organizations should be involved in the development of respective policies and programs. Internet technologies enable physically challenged persons to live a more productive life in modern society as never before. They can play a full-fledged role in social life and make a significant contribution into the economy, provided they have adequate internet tools. However, persons with disabilities, as well as the rest of the country's population, were cut off from the internet during the state of emergency.
The right to a fair trial
Starting from January 5, 2022, the President issued respective Decrees to impose the
state of emergency over the
entire territory of Kazakhstan. The
Law “On State of
Emergency” establishes that the
ground for imposing a state of emergency resides in ensuring safety and security,
protection of human and citizen
rights and freedoms, and also protection of the constitutional system of the
Republic of Kazakhstan.
When analyzing those President’s Decrees on the imposition of the state of emergency, we do not find any clauses that limit activities of the courts of Kazakhstan. It relates to the fact that the access to a fair court proceeding is one of the key constitutional rights of any human.
When analyzing those President’s Decrees on the imposition of the state of emergency, we do not find any clauses that limit activities of the courts of Kazakhstan. It relates to the fact that the access to a fair court proceeding is one of the key constitutional rights of any human. article 23 of the Law “On State of Emergency” states that “Justice in areas of the state of emergency shall be exercised by the courts in accordance with the legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan”. Those legislative acts include, above all, the Constitutional Law “On Judicial System and Status of Judges” dated December 25, 2000.
Legal features of the processing of personal data of citizens in the conditions of the state of emergency in Kazakhstan
With regard to the serious and immediate hazard to the safety of citizens and with
the aim of ensuring social
security, on January 5th, 2022, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan issued
the state of emergency until January 19th, 2022, in certain regions of the country.
After public disorder in Kazakhstan, 388 criminal proceedings have been initiated due to the facts of attacks on the buildings of governmental authorities and law enforcement agencies. This was announced on the 11th of January by the press relations office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. According to the statement of the press relations office, “The representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic reported to the President that appropriate operations were being currently taken on collecting and registering evidentiary records and restoring the event history”, the press relations office informed.
Inspection of phones in a state of emergency: invasion of privacy or measures of necessity
According to the current Law of
the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Personal Data and Their Protection”, personal
data matters in Kazakhstan
refer to regulated activities. This law defines basic provisions on the processes
related to personal data and
Under the state of emergency, Kazakhstan imposed a number of temporary restrictive measures. Some of those restrictions focused on strengthening public order and security of the crucial governmental objects and facilities that support vital functions of the population and transport operations. The freedom of movement was also restricted. Article 15 of the Law “On State of Emergency” allows checking personal identification documents as well as inspecting personal items and transport vehicles. In an attempt to analyze if the actions of officials who conducted such inspections were lawful, we should consult the effective laws of Kazakhstan.
Business, Internet and human rights
Speaking of the legal standpoint, decisions, by which mobile operators, being business entities, introduced internet restrictions, blocked web resources, and later shut down the internet completely, are substantiated by the imposition of the state of emergency – at first, in certain regions, and then throughout the entire country, by the announcement of the conduction of anti-terroristic operations, and also by the provisions of the Law “On Communications”. In such a way, in light of the country-wide digitization, the sphere of telecommunications technologies suffered along with many other sectors of economy and end consumers of goods and services. Currently, it is nearly impossible to estimate the size of losses, for example, according to the insider information of Forbes the losses incurred by Kcell are about KZT 1 billion. Based on the methodology used by NetBlocks, the total damage can achieve up to USD 500 million.
Surge of online petitions after January events in Kazakhstan
The practice of restricting Internet content, including January 2022
The situation of people with disabilities during the January 2022 events
Ensuring guarantees of protection of the right to privacy of citizens during the state of emergency in Kazakhstan
Gulmira Birzhanova, Diana Okremova
The right to freedom of expression and access to information online in the context of the January events
Violations of the right to a fair trial during the January events
The impact of social networks and messengers on protests: issues of privacy and state security
The European approach to the regulation of personal data processing in a state of emergency