'Virtual Police' Spreads Fear Rather Than Assurance, Says KontraS

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) openly criticizes the National Police institution for issuing a circular on how to handle the ITE Law or Information and electronics transaction law. 

    KontraS researcher Rivanlee Anandar argues that the context of the circular issue by the National Police Chief, with it establishing the ‘virtual police’, contradicts the statement addressed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on the talks of a revised ITE Law. 

    The circular itself encourages police personnel to put forth preemptive and preventive measures through virtual police and virtual alerts that are meant to monitor, educate, warn, and prevent potential cyber criminal acts. 

    “The existence of the virtual police amidst the fear of ITE Law charges is ironic,” said Anandar to Tempo on February 23. “Virtual police will only spread more fear of being monitored by police as they express their feelings. This contradicts President Jokowi’s message.”

    Rivanlee Anandar also asserts that not only many people consider the ITE Law as a democratic disruption, but it also gave room for the birth of virtual police. “People will be more afraid to comment on matters.” 

    KontraS believes that the best option the government can commit to is to completely revoke the ITE Law rather than making more interpretations on how to handle criminal offenses regarding expression. 

    “It’s impossible for expression to be measured for criminal offences,” said the human rights watchdog’s researcher. 

    Read: Police to Send Virtual Alert to People Making Hate Speech on Social Media

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