Heaptalk, Jakarta — The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia has blocked several electronic systems operators including internet sites and applications as of 30 July 2022.
The measure was applied to eight sites and applications unregistered as electronic systems operators of private scope based on Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Number 5 of 2020 concerning Private Scope Electronic System Operators.
During the press conference on 31 July 2022, the Director General of Informatics Applications, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, mentioned one of the blocked systems was canceled as it is beyond the scope of the electronic system operators, while at that time, the rest was still blocked, including PayPal, Yahoo, Epic Games, Steam, Dota, Counter Strike, and Origin (EA).
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The blocking of these have high traffic sites and applications has shocked the public and raise huge protests, particularly among those who have financial interests in the blocked systems. On the top of that, the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Jakarta said that the blocking of internet sites and applications has given rise to what is called authoritarianism which utilizes digital power to control technology as a tool to protect interests—digital authoritarianism.
In its official written release, the Institution asserted that blocking internet sites and applications that do not meet the restriction requirements is an act that can never be justified. The Institution urges the Ministry to cancel the blocking decision to stop the huge impact and loss on citizens.
LBH Jakarta also proposed the revocation of Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Number 5 of 2020 concerning Private Scope Electronic System Operators as it regulates human rights restrictions that do not align with the international human rights standards and mechanisms.
LBH Jakarta asked the Government and the Indonesian House of Representatives to speed up the discussion and ratification of the Personal Data Protection Bill to create comprehensive and protective governance and an ecosystem for personal data protection. Besides, the Institution also recommended the Government to focus on preparing a set of rules for the elimination and/or termination of access to electronic information and/or electronic documents containing sexual violence after the enactment of Law no. 12 of 2022 concerning Sexual Violence (UU TPKS).
The Institution suggests the Government conduct a major evaluation of regulations related to internet governance, such as the ITE Law and Government Regulation No. 71 of 2019 which contained several provisions that threatened the fulfillment of human rights. It can be concluded that there are still some more urgent issues to be handled by the Ministry other than blocking the electronic system operators.
In response to this issue, the Ministry made several follow-up efforts, one of which was by reopening PayPal access from 31 July 2022 at 8.00 am to 5 August 2022 at 11.59 pm, following the normalized of Valve Corp (Steam, Dota, and Counter Strike) and Yahoo as of 2 August 2022 at 8.30 am.
Essentially, the Government mentioned that the registration procedure of electronic system operators for private scope is not complicated. Semuel explained each country has rules and regulations to create a digital space that is conducive, safe, and comfortable.
The Director General also emphasizes the importance of being responsive and having good faith. “We open up opportunities for them to be part of our digital climate development and digital ecosystem,” said Semuel. Further, the Ministry has several programs that cooperate with related associations in the form of game-making training and holding meetings between developers and investors planned for October 2022. The programs aim to encourage the advancement of local games.