The Indonesian government has blocked access to a range of online services including Steam, Epic Games, PayPal and Yahoo after the companies failed to meet a new requirement related to the country’s restrictive content moderation laws, such as the reported earlier by Reuters.
Under the rules, companies deemed to be “private electronic system providers” must register with the government’s database to operate in the country or face a nationwide ban. Indonesia gave companies until July 27 to comply and has since banned those that have not.
The requirement is part of an overarching law, called MR5, which was first introduced in 2020. As noted Reuters, the laws give the Indonesian government the ability to obtain data on specific users, as well as compel companies to remove content that “disturbs public order” or is considered illegal. The platforms have four hours to act on “urgent” removal requests, or 24 hours in the case of any other content.
A 2021 report by digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls Indonesia’s laws “human rights invasive” because they put platforms at the mercy of the Indonesian government, which will ban them if they do not comply with local laws. Earlier this month, EFF wrote a letter to Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), urging the government to repeal its “invasive content moderation rules”.
Quick update for those asking-
The lockdowns are not permanent, assuming businesses register and comply with regulations, and Kominfo has already reached out to those businesses to ensure compliance and reverse the lockdown.
Here is a list of affected services: pic.twitter.com/6K121xVEMP
—Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 30, 2022
The ban left Indonesian users stranded without the ability to process payments or even play certain games. As indicated by Daniel Ahmadsenior analyst at Niko Partners, some other popular games and services affected by the ban include Origin, DOTA 2and Counter-Strike. Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify signed up for a license last week, and all remain available.
According Reuters, Kominfo chief executive Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan said the country will give users access to PayPal for five days starting July 31. Pangerapan adds that the agency has not heard from PayPal and that he hopes this brief window will provide “enough time for users to migrate, get their money and find other services.” Valve is said to be registering with the Indonesian database, which will unlock Steam, DOTA 2and Counter-Strike.
Pangerapan notes that the ban will be lifted once companies are registered in the country’s database. It is unclear when these services will come back online, or if they will register in the Indonesian database. PayPal, Epic Games and Valve did not immediately respond to The edgerequest for comment.
Updated July 31 at 8:50 a.m. ET: Update to add that PayPal is now unblocked for five days and that Valve is working to comply with Indonesia’s requirements.