Uzbekistan Restricts Access To Several Social Media Sites

Communications regulator in Uzbekistan restricted access To many social media sites for violating personal data laws.

Ozkomnazurat announce restrictions On July 2, without mentioning the social networking sites that fall under this order.

However, netizens in the most populous Central Asian country reported disruptions on Twitter, TikTok, VKontakte and Skype. In particular, the restrictions reportedly involve throttling or speed reduction when networks are used.

Uzkumnazurat said social media sites have violated a new personal data law in force since April that requires internet companies to store personal data of Uzbek users on servers in the country.

The regulator said the use of social networks would be “limited in accordance with the established procedure until the identified deficiencies are eliminated”.

In recent weeks, O’zkomnazorat Issuing warnings To Twitter, VKontakte in Russia, Twitter, Tencent’s We Chat, TikTok owner ByteDance, Microsoft Skype over violations of the Personal Data Act.

The latest information restrictions in Uzbekistan come as the authoritarian country prepares for presidential elections in October, in which President Shavkat Mirziyev is almost certain to win another term.

Before the elections, authorities tightened rules on the Internet and increased pressure on journalists and bloggers.

In March, amendments to communications laws criminalized insulting or defaming the president online, and making online calls for “mass unrest.”

Mirziyev has positioned himself as a reformer since taking office after the death of his authoritarian predecessor Islam Karimov in 2016, releasing political prisoners and opening his country to its neighbors and the outside world.

Rights groups say the reforms have not gone far enough.

With reporting by the Russian and Uzbek services RFE / RL

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