Virtual Police Sparks SAFEnet Concerns



Mahinda Arkyasa

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    Social media illustration.

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) executive director Damar Juniarto, said on Thursday, February 25, 2021, that the implementation of the Police's 'virtual police' contradicts its initial goal as the new police unit during its initial inception.

    Damar said that the Indonesian National Police General Listyo Sigit Prabowo initially described the 'virtual police' as a means to support the creation of a safer and healthier internet.

    "However, based on its implementation, it seems to have veered off course from its initial goal," said Damar to Tempo on Thursday, February 25, 2021. 

    Listyo believed that the existence of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law (ITE Law) was already quite worrisome, but added that the new police unit will only increase people's anxiety to express themselves freely in the digital realm.

    "Anxiety levels would soar when the virtual police [program] is commenced," said Damar who argued that the new unit has created an unsettling situation as those who police deem had violated online rules will have an official warning letter sent to the user's direct message. 

    Police claim that the virtual police will demand the troubling post to be dropped or changed. If people do refuse to cooperate, police will continue sending warning letters.

    "I might argue that virtual police will make social media users more worried," he said.