Tech companies warned as Indonesian registration deadline approaches

Tech companies warned as Indonesian registration deadline approaches

Indonesia has told technology companies that they must register soon under licensing rules first unveiled in late 2020 or run the risk of having their platforms blocked.

The deadline is on 20 July. So far, Reuters reports, a number of major firms, including Google, Twitter and Meta, have not yet registered.

The news service say that these rules will allow authorities to order platforms to take down content deemed unlawful, or that "disturbs public order" within four hours if considered urgent, and 24 hours if not.

In fact nearly 6,000 domestic companies and over 100 foreign companies have so far registered; the system applies to all domestic and foreign electronic service operators.

While government representatives have insisted that this is largely an administrative exercise and highlighted the aim of ensuring that internet service providers protect consumer data, the new rules will also permit the government to compel companies to reveal communications and personal data of specific users if requested by law enforcement or government agencies.

The registration ruling and its implications have been described as a threat to privacy and freedom of expression by digital rights groups.

But can the country actually halt a provider’s services? Blocking widely used platforms may be difficult; it’s not just about the young users that make up many of the country’s 273.5 million people. If the estimate of over 190 million social media users is correct the country is in the  top 10 of many social media companies, including TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.

This is the latest in a number of attempts by governments in countries like India, Nigeria and Russia to take on the social media giants in the name of public order. The actual blocking of such providers has already brought censure from a regional court against Nigeria, as we reported last week.

However, the tussle between social media companies and governments trying to limit what they see as disruptive behaviour is likely to continue.

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