Freedom of Expression and Censorship
Freedom of expression, despite being constitutionally protected in Mongolia, has seen various challenges. Defamation laws that carry civil and criminal penalties potentially hinder criticism of government officials, and reports of government surveillance raise privacy concerns. Internet access is generally unrestricted, with a wide majority of households connected. However, measures like the 2014 ban on certain words and phrases on local websites, the vaguely defined restrictions on ‘obscene’ and ‘inappropriate’ content, and compulsory IP address visibility on high-traffic sites highlight the complexities of online censorship. The press also faces hurdles, with content restrictions, licensing issues, and journalist harassment reported. Furthermore, recently amended laws concerning the spread of ‘evidently false information’ have provoked apprehensions due to their broad definitions. As such, Mongolia’s journey towards fully realizing freedom of expression and privacy, both online and offline, continues to be a complex endeavor.
P2P, Torrenting, Streaming
In the realm of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networking and torrenting, Mongolia presents an intriguing case study, albeit one that is currently under-documented. Akin to numerous nations worldwide, it can be extrapolated that a portion of Mongolian internet users have adopted these technologies. Yet, Mongolia’s legislative landscape concerning digital copyright infringement, primarily dictated by the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (2006), fails to explicitly tackle the intricacies of digital piracy through P2P and torrenting platforms. This legislative silence has led to a lacuna, obstructing a full understanding of the legal implications and enforcement surrounding these practices in Mongolia.
The state of government surveillance and data retention in Mongolia has undergone significant transformations, particularly after the passage of the Law on Personal Data Protection (PDPL) by the Parliament of Mongolia on December 17, 2021. Taking effect from May 1, 2022, the PDPL replaced the previous Law on Personal Secrecy (1995) and instituted a far more robust and extensive regulatory framework for personal data in the country. Working in tandem with the Cybersecurity Law (2021), Public Information Transparency Law (2021), and Electronic Signature Law (2021), also enacted on May 1, 2022, the PDPL has created a comprehensive legal framework governing cybersecurity and data privacy protection. It is crucial to note that the PDPL has a broad scope, applying to individuals, legal entities, and even organizations without legal status that are involved in collecting, processing, utilizing, and safeguarding personal data in Mongolia. This marked shift in data regulation and its implications for businesses highlight Mongolia’s efforts to align with contemporary standards of data protection and cyber-security.
VPN servers in Mongolia:
Given Mongolia’s “Average” PPI rating and the concerns mentioned above, it may not be the best location for a VPN server. A nearby alternative with a better privacy environment is Singapore, which has an “Above Average” PPI rating. Although Singapore does have data retention laws in place, they are not as strict as those in some other countries. Singapore’s copyright laws are also more relaxed when it comes to P2P file sharing and streaming services. Furthermore, Singapore has a well-developed IT infrastructure, which can provide lower latency and a more stable connection for VPN users. In conclusion, Singapore would be a better choice in the region compared to Mongolia, offering a more balanced environment for hosting a VPN server.