Based on a decree issued on 1 February 2010 by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus Council of Ministers adopted five resolutions introducing new Internet regulations which require a compulsory registration of all web sites and the collection of personal data of Internet cafe users.
According to one of the resolutions, the registration is required for all Internet resources on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, irrespective of their commercial or non-commercial nature. Starting with 1 July 2010, legal entities and individual entrepreneurs are obliged to make the transition to the use of information networks, systems and resources of the national segment of the Internet, located on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
Lawyer Lyudmila Chekin explained that, in terms of the resolutions, all Internet resources that are on the territory of Belarus must be registered as Internet Service Providers. It seems it is still not clear what specific provider the law will apply to: the hosting provider which provides virtual hosting, or only to the physical host. Providers will also need to record additional information (a statement in the State Register of information networks, systems and resources, including more than 30 points that cover not only the name, passport details and contact of the owners of the resource, but also a detailed description of the site, network (IP) resource addresses, domain names, registration number of the data centre, the type of hosting used by resource ports transport protocols and others.)
Moreover, besides the fact that all websites must register and that the registration will cost, they must also be hosted in Belarus which implicitly means that all foreign-based sites may be sanctioned, leading to the termination of their service provision. The decree leaves however room for interpretation. According to Chekin, a first possible interpretation could be that the requirements for the transition to the Belarusian hosting would only apply to residents or non-residents having a permanent establishment on the territory of Belarus. A second possible interpretation could be that the provision of Internet services on the territory of the Republic of Belarus by non-residents who do not have branches or representative offices in Belarus is completely prohibited.
Belarus New Internet Regulations (12.05.2010)
Regulated enough? (only in Russian, 12.05.2010)
EDRi-gram: Censorship in Belarusian Internet cafes (27.02.2010)