SAFEnet: Indonesia Government Has To Stop Blocking Telegram Messenger
The telegram messenger termination was an arrogant and arbitrary government blockade.
On Friday, July 14, 2017 Indonesia Minister of ICT Rudiantara threatened to shut down access to a number of social media platforms operating in Indonesia if it did not cooperate with the Indonesian government to counter hoax, fake news, and radicalism content. Rudiantara said, during 2016 to 2017 social media platform can only counteract about 50% of content hoax, fake news, and radicalism.
“The providers of the international platform greatly disappointed us. We ask to fix this. If there is no improvement, we will be serious to consider closing the platforms,” said Rudiantara.
Telegram Messenger became a digital platform that closed directly on the same day. In the Press Release of the MICT No. 84 / HM / KOMINFO / 07/2017 about Termination Application Access Telegram explained that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MICT) on July 14, 2017 has asked Internet Service Provider (ISP) to terminate access (blocking) against 11 Domain Name System (DNS) belonging Telegram : t.me, telegram.me, telegram.org, core.telegram.org, desktop.telegram.org, macos.telegram.org, web.telegram.org, venus.web.telegram.org, pluto.web.telegram.org, flora.web.telegram.org, and flora-1.web.telegram.org. The impact of this blocking is the inaccessibility of the web version Telegram service.
Blocking is taken because according to MICT there are lot of channels that exist in the service charged propaganda of radicalism, terrorism, understand hatred, solicitation or how to make bombs, how to attack, disturbing images, and others that are contrary to the laws and regulations in Indonesia.
The basis of the access termination is Article 40 of the IET Law No. 19 / 2016 which gives full authority to the government to cut off access to internet media containing banned content. In the setting of the internet in Indonesia which is considered to be a prohibited content are: pornography, gambling, but also defamation, religious blasphemy, threats, etc.
It should be noted that this telegram termination was an arrogant and arbitrary government blockade. The government’s move to block telegrams today that it claims to address the use of telegram for terrorist activity could result in other messenger telegram users who do not use it for terrorism purposes to lose. We question whether the Indonesia government’s only solution to cyberterrorism is just to block website/digital platform.
Therefore, we demand:
1. Immediately normalize access to Messenger Telegram sites since blocking is a shallow solution
2. Immediately evaluate the blocking policy because it is not transparent in practice so the public does not know who the requesters are blocking and is not involved in discussing the reason for blocking.
3. The government has exceeded its authority in implementing Article 40 of the IET Law No. 19 / 2016. The article tend to abusive and endanger democracy and should be revise.