Indonesian law MR5 bans access to many online services, including Steam, Epic Games, and...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,570   +1,074
Staff member
In context: We have seen a trend where many western nations are passing laws protecting online privacy and internet users' civil rights. However, there is another trend of doing the exact opposite in more repressive countries. Indonesia is the latest to tell online services to hand over customer data and censor the posts they say or else.

Over the weekend, Indonesia banned several websites for noncompliance with a new law. The law, dubbed Ministerial Regulation Number 5 or MR5, requires "private electronic system providers" to register with the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) and turn over specific users' data. The law also requires companies to remove content that "disturbs public order" or that the Indonesian government deems "illegal." Companies must respond to removal demands within 24 hours or four hours for "urgent" content.

So far, Kominfo blocked eight services and games in the country, including Yahoo, Steam, DOTA2, Counter-Strike, Epic Games, Origin, Xandr, and PayPal. However, the PayPal ban had an unintended negative consequence on customers since it effectively locked them out of the funds in their accounts. Reuters notes that Kominfo responded quickly to concerns by temporarily lifting the ban.

"[PayPal users] can access the site until August 4 to migrate, get their money, and find other services," said Kominfo General Director Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan.

Reddit users report that Steam and Epic Games accounts are completely shut down, and some of their purchased titles are unplayable. However, Valve is currently working on getting registered in Kominfo's database to restore service to its customers in the region as quickly as possible. It wishes to avoid losing two of its most significant revenue streams — DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike.

Other companies that have already bowed the knee to Indonesia's repressive law include Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify. The Financial Times notes those companies registered last week, and all remain active in the region. Pangerapan said that the bans are not permanent as long as companies comply with the law. Once a service registers with Kominfo, the country will lift its suspension.

Indonesia is not alone in enacting draconian legislation such as MR5. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) notes that Germany got the ball rolling in 2017 by passing its "NetDG" law. NetDG requires online service providers to block or remove content the government doesn't like, and it doesn't even require a court order. Since then, Venezuela, Australia, Russia, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Malaysia have passed similar legislation.

As effective as these laws appear, it does not make them any less tyrannical.

"Failure to comply with these demands subjects companies to draconian fines (and even raises the specter of blocking of their services)," said the EFF in 2021 when Indonesia jumped on the authoritarian bandwagon. "This creates a chilling effect on free expression: platforms will naturally choose to err on the side of removing gray area content rather than risk the punishment."

The EFF believes that MR5 and other laws like it are an invasive violation of human rights. The EFF, SAFEnet, and several other consumer watchdogs sent a letter to Kominfo asking it to repeal the unjust law and its "invasive content moderation rules."

However, it's likely to take more than an open letter from a handful of human rights organizations to remove the country's power grab. Such oppressive regulations can usually be affected only when other countries threaten sanctions, which has not happened with similar laws.

Image credit: Nick Youngson

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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,512   +5,920
The EFF sure loves to complain, but if you told them that those filthy evil Republicans were against this the EFF would be cheerleading for chinese style censorship. The EFF sure doesnt care when private social media companies enact the exact same policies on their platforms.
 

BuckarooBonzai

Posts: 137   +97
Talks of internet boarders (virtual boarders is what some call it) or internet sovereignty has been going around the table for decades. It's just that no one has challenged it until China and Russia stepped in. I expect more Countries to follow the present ones who are already doing this as there seems to be no International uproar.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,512   +5,920
Talks of internet boarders (virtual boarders is what some call it) or internet sovereignty has been going around the table for decades. It's just that no one has challenged it until China and Russia stepped in. I expect more Countries to follow the present ones who are already doing this as there seems to be no International uproar.
Attention from the world stage makes it much harder to oppress your peasants and pass draconian laws. Internationally speaking, governments the world over would LOVE to implement such bans themselves, as controlling the narrative is how they survive. No modern country is going to oppose this because they themselves are taking notes on how to do it themselves.
 

RudyBob

Posts: 693   +657
Let's not judge Indonesia. I'm not judging you... isn't that a favorite new age expression?
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,794   +1,834
How do you fail to understand how oppressive to liberty this kind of thing is?
Perhaps, but most other nations require companies to register, to divulge certain types of information, and to also ban certain forms of information or content. The US and the EU in particular have literally hundreds of thousands of pages of such laws and regulations. Sit down and begin reading them today, and you'd never finish, as they write new ones faster than you can read. How harmful to liberty is that?
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,794   +1,834
You seem to fail to understand something important: Context.
Some vague hand-waving doesn't absolve you from answering the question. Indonesia isn't doing anything many other nations have done, including most likely your own. If you're not working to clean up your own backyard, don't expostulate about others.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,151   +800
Some vague hand-waving doesn't absolve you from answering the question.
Your question was pedantic and intentionally sidetracking. You're missing an important aspect about US law. I'm not willing to explain it to you. Go read up and figure it out or continue not knowing what you're talking about.
Indonesia isn't doing anything many other nations have done, including most likely your own.
Utter nonsense.
If you're not working to clean up your own backyard, don't expostulate about others.
Take your own advice and stop being so passive.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,794   +1,834
Your question was pedantic and intentionally sidetracking. You're missing an important aspect about US law. I'm not willing to explain it to you. Go read up
Meaning you can't.

Utter nonsense [that other nations do the same]
Indonesian Law MR5 requires certain companies to register with the government, requires ISPs to take down content the government deems illegal, and requires ISPs to, in certain circumstances, release user information to the government. All three provisions of which the US also requires. Most European nations are even worse, with their so-called "hate speech" legislation. A woman in Finland was recently criminally charged with Tweeting a Bible verse, and France not only bans "gamer slang", but recently passed this gem of a censorship law:

The French parliament passed a controversial law yesterday that would fine social media companies if they fail to remove certain illegal content within 24 hours -- and in some cases, as little as one hour.

The new regulation calls for the tech platforms to remove hateful comments -- based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability, as well as sexual harassment -- within 24 hours after they are flagged by users ....

Germany has had a similar law, called the Network Enforcement Act, on the books since 2018. The regulation requires social media platforms to remove hate speech and fake news within 24 hours of it being flagged, or face penalties of up to roughly $60 million....
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,151   +800
Meaning you can't.
Meaning you are not worth the time and effort of the pages long explanation that would be needed to help you understand how wrong you are.
Indonesian Law MR5 requires certain companies to register with the government, requires ISPs to take down content the government deems illegal, and requires ISPs to, in certain circumstances, release user information to the government. All three provisions of which the US also requires. Most European nations are even worse, with their so-called "hate speech" legislation. A woman in Finland was recently criminally charged with Tweeting a Bible verse, and France not only bans "gamer slang", but recently passed this gem of a censorship law:

The French parliament passed a controversial law yesterday that would fine social media companies if they fail to remove certain illegal content within 24 hours -- and in some cases, as little as one hour.

The new regulation calls for the tech platforms to remove hateful comments -- based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability, as well as sexual harassment -- within 24 hours after they are flagged by users ....

Germany has had a similar law, called the Network Enforcement Act, on the books since 2018. The regulation requires social media platforms to remove hate speech and fake news within 24 hours of it being flagged, or face penalties of up to roughly $60 million....
Blah blah blah... You did not prove your point.