The government of the Republic of Belarus has imposed more stringent controls on internet traffic in the country, leaving its citizens with very few means of communications not monitored by the state. The country’s authoritarian president Aleksander Lukashenko has reportedly authorised the national agency, the Intelligence Analysis Centre (OAC), to break into practically any internet traffic moving to, from or within Belarus. The president cited a need to combat crime as the reason, but critics note that they ‘expand the centre’s power substantially’.
One source, who asked to remain anonymous, is quoted as saying: ‘Technically, silencing unsuitable sites is easy for the authorities. Belarus is connected to the world-wide web by only one cable, which is controlled by [state-owned national fixed line PTO) Beltelecom.’