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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Legislation must keep up with Internet

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, August 22, 2014 | 09:18 am

Experts have criticized the government, especially the Communications and Information Ministry, for failing to update laws and regulations to keep up with the rapidly expanding use of the Internet in the country.

A public forum on Internet governance held on Wednesday concluded that existing regulations should be improved and new laws were needed.

The number of Internet users in Indonesia has continued to grow year by year. Based on data from the Association of Indonesian Internet Providers (APJII), Indonesia had around 71 million internet users in 2013, up by 13 percent compared to the previous year.

To date, the government only has the Information Transaction Law and the Telecommunications Law as guidelines, neither of which is supported by adequate implementing regulations.

Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) executive director Indriaswati D. Saptaningrum said that Communications and Information Ministerial Decree No.19/2014, which was passed on July 17, indicated how far the government had fallen behind.

Under the decree, the ministry is allowed to block websites that are considered to have negative content. The decree, however, did not provide a precise definition of such negative content, Indriaswati said.

The article specifically stipulates that a ban can only be imposed on websites containing pornography or illegal activities, without further defining those terms.

Indri said that without precise definitions as guidelines, the blocking of websites would be arbitrary and could violate the basic rights to information.

She said that currently the government was focused too much on controlling the Internet and forgetting to draft legal instruments to boost the protection of privacy on the Internet, which, according to her, was much more important.

'€œWe lag far behind the US and other developed countries which already have Internet privacy laws,'€ she told The Jakarta Post.

She said the deliberation of the bill on privacy on the Internet had begun three years ago, but the ministry had not made it a priority and the process had stalled.

Aloysius Wisnubroto, law expert from Atmajaya University in Yogyakarta, said the process of drafting the law had been too long because it was heavily politicized.

He suggested laws on the Internet had to be amended to make them more relevant to the current situation. Aloysius cited Article 27, of Law No. 11/2008 on Internet-based defamation as being redundant as there was already an article on defamation in the Criminal Code.

'€œWe don'€™t need two laws regulating the same offense,'€ he said. (ask)