Recently, the Indonesian government has strongly banned some websites because they did not comply with the provisions of the Ministerial Regulation No. 5 (or MR5) of this country. Specifically, the regulation requires “private electronic systems providers” to register with the Indonesian Ministry of Information and Communications (Kominfo) and transfer specific user data. The law also forces many companies to remove content that is “disruptive to public order” or that the Indonesian government considers “illegal”. Online service providers are required to act within 20 hours or a minimum of 4 hours for “urgent” content.
So far, Kominfo has blocked eight services and games in the country, including Yahoo, Steam, DOTA2, Counter-Strike, Epic Games, Origin, Xandr, and PayPal. However, the ban on PayPal has negative consequences because it makes it impossible for users to withdraw or transfer money from the service. However, Reuters news agency reported that Kominfo had made a quick response to solve the problem and temporarily lifted the ban.
“[Người dùng PayPal] can access the site until August 4 to move, receive money and find other services,” said Kominfo General Manager Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan.
Several Reddit users reported that Steam and Epic Games accounts were completely deactivated, rendering many purchased titles inaccessible. However, Valve is currently working with the authorities in Indonesia to enroll in Kominfo’s database in order to restore service to its customers in the region as quickly as possible.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify filed for MR5 last week and are not affected by the law. Kominfo general manager Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan also said that the ban is not permanent as long as companies comply with the law. After a service registers with Kominfo, the country will lift the suspension.
Indonesia is not alone in enacting draconian laws like MR5. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) notes that Germany accomplished similar regulation in 2017 by passing its “NetDG” law. NetDG requires online service providers to block or remove “unwanted” government content. Since then, Venezuela, Australia, Russia, India, Kenya, the Philippines and Malaysia have also passed similar legislation.
As for the EFF, they believe that MR5 and similar laws are too harsh and are infringing on human rights. As a result, the EFF, SAFEnet and several other consumer watchdogs sent letters to Kominfo asking for the law and “draconian content moderation rules” to be repealed.
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