The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Kominfo, is now blocking access to internet service and content providers who had not registered on the country’s new licensing platform by July 27th, 2022, as the country begins to restrict access to online content providers and services.
The first blocks began Friday, a day before the June 26th deadline, and according to internet access monitoring org NetBlocks, some of the service providers include Yahoo, Steam, and PayPal.
Other Indonesian sources also report not being able to access Battlenet, Epic Games, and other gaming portals used by millions of players in the country.
The blocks appear to result from a coordinated action between Kominfo and all major ISPs (internet service providers) in the country. However, some smaller ones still stray from the new regulations.
According to multiple user reports, VPNs can bypass the imposed blocks for now, but when using them with electronic payment services or gaming portals, there might be problems with network speed and account fingerprint mismatches.
Due to the blocks, many PayPal users in Indonesia have been locked out of their accounts and funds. However, a spokesperson stated that the government might temporarily unblock payment platforms this week to allow withdrawals.
New internet regulation
The new regulatory framework introduced by Indonesia’s IT ministry last year was presented as a content control system said to be introduced to protect national security and prevent the dissemination of fake news.
The regulation orders the mandatory registration of all internet service providers into a new licensing platform allowing them to legally operate in the country. Those who fail to register are considered illegal entities and will be blocked from the Indonesian internet.
The law requires all registered entities to assign a local representative and office that responds to censorship requests and unlimited information disclosure demands from the state.
Any information published on registered service providers’ platforms is subject to state scrutiny, as is any information about user accounts, communication on these sites, and all other forms of data exchange.
If the government requests the urgent removal of material deemed harmful to national security and the public, the service provider has to respond to the request within four hours. For non-urgent censorship requests, the providers are given up to 24 hours to oblige.
By the deadline, roughly 200 foreign and 8,000 domestic online service providers had registered themselves, including Google, Meta, TikTok, Instagram, and Spotify, who wouldn’t want to be ousted from such a large population of 270 million people.
The new law passed despite the numerous voices of concern expressed by journalistic coalitions and freedom of speech advocates in Indonesia, who worried that it would be used as a tool of government censorship and to restrict freedom of the press in the country