While the Republic of Kosovo does not possess its own state internet code (CCTLD), most mobile and internet operators in the country are using IP addresses from Serbia. These services with IP addresses from Serbia are considered as very harmful for the state of Kosovo and media sector businesses.
Kosovo, which has been a state for almost 14 years, and Telecom of Kosovo are still using the IP addresses of Serbia, where the leaders of the Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo and MPs from the opposition are concerned about this, who urgently ask the Government to resolve this issue.
The Chairman of the Board of the Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo, Skënder Krasniqi, says that these IP addresses of Serbia which are used by Telecom of Kosovo and other companies, are damaging the businesses of the media sector, and as he says, the sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo is being threatened.
“This concern has come from the businesses, the media sector, which have complained, because with the use of Serbia’s IP addresses, the ads that appear on portals and websites appear in the language of that country where the IP addresses come from. Using IP addresses of Serbia, the language does not appear in Albanian, but in Serbian. This then harms businesses, but also the country, because it is identifying us with another state, which is really damaging the sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo”, said Krasniqi.
The Chairman of the Board of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic and Postal Communications (RAEPC), Nazim Rahimi, told KosovaPress that as long as Kosovo does not administer with its state domain and is not part of “RIPE NCC”, it cannot administer IP address.
Rahimi said that Telecom uses IP addresses from Albania and thus he has denied that internet operators in the country use the IP addresses of Serbia, except for the Serbian Mts Doo which operates in the north of Kosovo.
“These IP addresses are from ‘RIPE NCC’ for our operators in Kosovo that have the Republic of Albania as a geographical location. This is where it ends. Which operators use these IP addresses? Large operators such as Telecom of Kosovo, IPKO, Kujtesa, Art Motion and others. Whereas, Mts Doo is the only operator that uses IP addresses with geographical location Republic of Serbia. We have given these in the explanations in the letters that we have sent for information to the Prime Minister and the Chamber of Doing Business. When will Kosovo have the code for the geographical location? As long as Kosovo does not administer with its state domain and we are not part of ‘RIPE NCC’ we cannot administer with IP address. Until then we have to wait”, said Rahimi.
Whereas the head of the CDBK, Krasniqi, testifying about the appearance of the Serbian language in the promotional content of agencies, online newspapers and portals, said that the statements of RAEPC leaders are manipulated and untrue.
Moreover, Krasniqi said that Telecom of Kosovo itself continuously uses the IP addresses of Serbia, and not Albania.
“Whether it is true or not, this can be confirmed by any citizen if they enter the portals and see advertisements in Serbian, which are displayed according to IPs. RAEPC statements that Serbia’s IP addresses are not used, do not stand. Now we can demonstrate this problem in practice, because we are dealing with a lie by RAEPC, as well as a manipulation by most providers of IP addresses. Thus, the main violator, or the biggest user of Serbia’s IPs is unfortunately Kosovo Telecom. Because every time you access Vala’s website, advertisements are in Serbian. While, in other operators it happens that from time to time, they use both, the IP addresses of Albania and IP addresses of Serbia. But what should never happen in the future, is happening with the Telecom of Kosovo, which continues to use the IP addresses of Serbia”, said Krasniqi.
Regarding this issue, Fadil Lepaja, Acting Director of Public Relations at Kosovo Telecom says briefly for KosovaPress that Telecom does not use IP addresses from Albania but they, according to him, are allocated by “RIPE NCC”.
When the Telekom officials were asked if they used IP addresses from Serbia, they did not deny it. Therefore, the same answer suggests that the company in question uses IP addresses from Serbia.
“Telecom does not use IP addresses from Albania, but they are allocated by ‘RIPE’. Telecom of Kosovo uses the IP addresses which it received from ‘RIPE’. IP addresses are not allocated to states, but are allocated to ISPs that request IP allocation. The allocation of IP addresses does not depend on the state code. Telecom payment for ‘RIPE’ in 2021 is € 939.05”, it is said in Lepaja’s written answers.
The AAK MP, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economy, Pal Lekaj, urgently requesting the addressing the IPs, told KosovaPress that their use by Serbia endangers the security and privacy of citizens in Kosovo.
“Regarding the Internet Code and other issues that are important and vital for the citizens, but also, they affect the security of the citizens of Kosovo, unfortunately to date we have not seen any effort. I think that the citizens of Kosovo have a loss here, also in security, but also in terms of what is called electronic communication. We say this because until we have a state code, then the security or privacy of this issue is known… This is not fair, so the government must act urgently”, he said.
The President of RAEPC, Nazim Rahimi has admitted that the non-management of IPs from Kosovo has financial and economic impacts.
“Absolutely, the non-management from Kosovo, which does not manage these IP addresses, certainly has other possible economic impacts, for which I cannot speak in a more concrete way at the moment. Of course, there is an impact on businesses, but I do not think the economic consequences are so great”, he said.
The Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo has held meetings with RAEPC leaders and has sent letters proving that local operators are using IP addresses from the Serbian state.
The Chamber of Commerce has also sent a letter to Prime Minister Kurti, has met with the Minister of Economy, Artanë Rizvanolli, but so far, there are no concrete actions, and state and economic damage is continuing.