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Kominfo Accused of Being Authoritarian for Blocking Paypal, Steam

1 August 2022 08:26 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Jakarta Legal Aid Institute or LBH Jakarta accused the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) of being authoritarian for blocking a number of websites and applications on July 30, 2022. Kominfo blocked them because they were not registered under the private scope electronic system operator (PSE) based on the ministry’s regulation No. 5 of 2020.

“The access restriction to internet sites and applications is a form of authoritarianism by using digital power in order to control technology as a tool to protect interests,” said the attorney for the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Teo Reffelsen, in his statement, Sunday, July 31, 2022.

The blocked sites and applications include search engine website Yahoo, payments firm PayPal, and several gaming websites namely Epic Games, Steam, Dota, Counter Strike, Xandr.com, Origin (EA), and Steam. The blocking met with public criticism.

LBH Jakarta also said that this policy had a serious impact on human rights, such as the right to communicate and obtain information, freedom of expression, and privacy. It was also considered to violate other rights, such as livelihoods.

For example, creative workers who partner with foreign companies could not get paid because they use PayPal.

The blocking, Teo went on, did not also through a court decision. Thus, Kominfo allegedly violated the principles of transparency, fairness, and equal treatment. Teo asked Kominfo to conduct the blocking proportionally and prove it through a transparent forum.

“Therefore, the Minister's Regulation No. 5 of 2020 on the private scope electronic system operators does not have legitimacy in accordance with human rights restriction standards and mechanisms to block internet sites and applications,” he asserted.

Teo said Kominfo's regulation is also substantially problematic because it could intervene directly on platforms to remove content under the pretext of "causing public uproar and disturbing public order", without a standard definition. He assessed that such a unilateral subjectivity could have an impact on violations of freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to communicate and obtain information.

M JULNIS FIRMANSYAH

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