Indonesian government blocks Steam, PayPal, Nintendo and countless other sites for its 270 million people

Indonesian government blocks Steam, PayPal, Nintendo and countless other sites for its 270 million people

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Image: Metropolitan Television News

Over the weekend, the Indonesian government began blocking any websites or services that have not been registered under the new “internet control” laws. Many are affected, from Steam to the Epic Games Store, via Nintendo and the EA and Ubisoft platforms.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Kominfo) took the action after introducing a series of tough new laws aimed at cracking down on “illegal” content hosted on the internet.

To comply with these laws, international companies operating in Indonesia had to register in a database controlled by the Indonesian government (giving it access to a lot of user-specific data for the road). Many have chosen not to, or at least not yet. In response, the Indonesian IP addresses of services that failed to complete the steps were blocked. This forced companies like PayPal, Yahoo or many video game platforms to go out of business.

While PayPal has been temporarily restored (to allow customers to withdraw their money from the platform), video game stores and platforms have been inactive since this weekend (the deadline to register for the new law was 27 July).

As explained in Global Voicesthese laws have been strongly criticized both inside and outside the country since their promulgation for the first time:

Mandatory registration of operators of private electronic systems (ESO) is stipulated in Ministerial Regulation 5 (MR5) published in December 2020. Its amended version, Ministerial Regulation 10 (MR10), was published in May 2021.

The media, civil society groups and human rights defenders have consistently opposed the MR5 as al MR10 to contain provisions that threaten freedom of expression.

Indeed, the famous association Human Rights Watch referred to laws:

Decree MR5 poses a serious problem problembecause it gives government authorities powers that are too broad to regulate online contentaccess user data and penalize companies that do not conform… Ministerial Regulation 5 is a debacle for the of human rights which will destroy freedom of expression in Indonesia and should not be used in its current form.

Even though Indonesia does not seem to be a big player, we are talking about the fourth most populous country on the planet (with a total of 270 million) and one of the largest markets in online services. What pointed out The diplomat“Indonesia remains one of the markets for largest Internet in the world, with the third largest population of Facebook users and who is also among the best 10 of users in YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp”.

none of the services affected was prohibited. Jtechnically they will be restricted until they are registered in Kominfo or the law is amended (or repealed). Some of the companies that have been recorded are Google, Roblox or Riot Games (League of Legends, Valorant). And although direct access to services like Steam is currently unavailable, gamers in Indonesia are already looking to circumvent the ban. By the use of vpn.

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