Friday, July 23, 2021

Internet control laws in Indonesia pose a serious threat to the right to free speech: EFF

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on the Indonesian government to amend its rules governing the internet, saying these laws “pose a serious threat to the rights of Indonesians which means freedom of speech.”

The Internet Regulations came into effect in November last year as part of an effort to create a regulatory framework for the management and supervision of electronic system providers for private organizations.

According to international law firm Hogan Lovells, the rules, currently only available in Bahasa Indonesian, have forced all independent electronic operators (ESO) to register and obtain an ID certificate issued by the Indonesian government.

The obligation extends to all independent ESOs using online sites, websites, and applications for marketing, content delivery, search engines, or cloud computing, Hogan Lovells partner Challid Heyder wrote [PDF].

Failure to register on May 24 will result in the local internet administrator punishing those who have not registered by blocking their services and content.

Indonesian law also gives the government the power to compel private ESO, without cloud providers, to seize unauthorized information, including content that creates “public concern” and “disrupts public order.”

“This creates a negative impact on free speech: Platforms will naturally choose to make a mistake on the part of removing gray content rather than risking punishment,” the EFF said in a post.

“In fact, the Indonesian government looks at things from a low level with strict online, transparent, and transparent rules. The MR5 regulation, issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Technology, seeks to strengthen the government’s hand on digital content and users’ data.”

Private ESOs are also required to designate a local contact site in Indonesia responsible for responding to content removal or access orders for personal data.

According to the EFF, platforms will find it very difficult to resist orders and be at risk of domestic legal action, including arrests and criminal charges.

In response to restraining orders obtained from the Indian government threatening to arrest company employees, Twitter permanently blocked or hid more than 500 accounts in its area last month.

On the same day the EFF criticized the Indonesian government, both Google and Reddit published updates that focused on affected and spam campaigns, respectively, on their platforms.

Google’s quarterly review of threats has revealed that it has blocked about 3,000 YouTube channels as part of an ongoing investigation into China’s combined influence.

Nearly 3,000 channels often post spammy content in Chinese about music, entertainment, and lifestyle, while a small subset of uploaded Chinese and English content criticizes the US response to COVID-19 and political divisions.

In a public review of Reddit, the platform revealed that it had removed 85 million pieces of spam content. It also said it received 611 standard requests for legal or government user information and 324 emergency disclosure requests, although it did not specify what types of permits were used to issue these applications and only described one of these applications in detail.

The request comes from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which alleges that 812 Reddit communities contain pornography and nudity violate its cybercrime laws. Of the 812 subreddits reported by the Pakistani regulator, the platform blocked access to the country to 753.

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Priyanshu Vijayvargiya
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Virtualattacks Inc' Priyanshu Vijayvargiya is a cybersecurity analyst, Information Security professional, developer, and a white hat hacker.

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