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Indonesia blocks Yahoo, Paypal, Dota in the country for failing to comply with new licensing policy

Eight digital platforms including Yahoo, Steam, Epic Games and PayPal have been blocked by Indonesia’s Communications and Information Ministry after they failed to comply with the country’s new licensing rule.

According to The Jakarta Post, the Indonesian government has reminded the tech companies involved to register themselves as an Electronic Systems Providers (PSE) in the country by 20 July several weeks ago but no action was taken.

On Saturday (30 July), the Ministry’s Informatics Applications Director General Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan has confirmed that search engine Yahoo, gaming platform Steam and payment platform PayPal were among the eight electronic service providers that have been blocked. Other blocked platforms include Dota, Counter-Strike, Epic Games, Origin.com and Xandr.com.

There are a total of 8,721 domestic platforms and 288 foreign platforms that have registered as a PSE at the time of writing. Some of the popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google and many others.

By registering as a PSE, the platform must commit to take down content that “incites unrest” or “disturbs public order” within 24 hours of receiving a ministry instruction to do so.

If the content contains child pornography or messages supporting terrorism, or if the ministry feels there is an immediate need to remove the content for the sake of public order, the registered platforms will have 4 hours to remove the offending post following the ministry’s warning.

Failing to do so, the government can order internet service providers to block access to it.

Source: S2S

When the Indonesian government first introduces the licensing rule, many were sceptical if the government would throw the ban hammer as various international platforms were widely used in the country including government officials.

However, it appears that the government managed to get big tech companies such as Meta, Google and Twitter to comply at the last minute.

Nonetheless, there had been criticisms that such regulation may pose a threat to privacy and freedom of expression on the internet. According to Reuters, Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network’s (SAFEnet) Nenden Arum said their analysis shows that this would be the most repressive regulation of its kind in the region.

On the flip side, the new regulation also allows the government to have greater control to moderate content especially on social media platforms hosted internationally.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, the current framework in the country is not effective in handling content uploaded on overseas platforms. According to Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has no power to demand social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to take offending content down.

This is also why Malaysians often see misleading and scam ads on these platforms.

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