At the beginning of the week of March 2018, Indonesian netizen protested over the blocking of microblogging sites; Tumblr by Kemkominfo (The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology). A lot of criticism delivered by the netizen on Twitter as a form of their disappointment.
Tumblr site blocking discourse has appeared in 2016, on the grounds that a lot of Pornographic and LGBT content on the site. In early 2018, Kemkominfo actualized the blocking of the site, and added Tumblr into the government block list after previously Reddit and Vimeo were blocked for the same reason.
Kemkominfo has initiated a plan to implement internet censorship system since last year in order to develop Trust+ Positive (Healthy and Safe Internet Usage) which has been implemented in January 2018.
Reporting from the official website Kominfo.go.id, Director General of Informatics Applications Ministry of Communications and Informatics, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan said that “this internet censor engine using crawling system, which means that the machine will automatically analyze according to predefined negative content criteria.”
This crawling system will analyze content in cyberspace. By typing the keyword, then appears a row of content that is considered to violate the rules. According to Semuel, this is the most effective way.
Previously to perform negative content filtering, Kominfo had to do it manually. For example, a team from Kominfo should monitor one at a site allegedly containing negative content. “By simply typing in keywords and artificial intelligence will crawling and analyzing the content,” Semuel said..
Internet Censorship Dilemma
In commemorating World Day Against Cyber Censorship, Monday (12/03), the dilemma about Internet censorship in Indonesia still reap a lot of criticism. Blocking the sites like Tumblr is considered still biased, because there’s still a lot of content in it that is informative and useful for the community.
Apart from blocking some sites in Indonesia, according to Hendri Augustine, RPS Founder, as someone who has a background on computer security, stated two views in looking at the issue of Internet censorship in Indonesia.
Hendri said that, “The Internet can be a tool to emphasized true colors of human. The Internet can be a double-edged sword. Technically, I know how capabilities of a gadget to gather information without being filtered, but at the same time I believe in Human Right in using the internet.
“My concern here lies in first intention of applying censorship is to prevent something bad happened in one particular ethics (terrorist, hoax, black campaign, etc). Because the power that given by technology to humans can be massive. Every information that exists can be dangerous and threatening to us. Conversely, when its held by the authorities, should not be used as something that has political elements,” he said.
When discussing the issue of blocking several major sites such as Reddit, Vimeo and the latter, Tumblr in Indonesia, Hendri argues that the basis for blocking those sites still lacks of the right substance.
“Pornography is almost accessible from many sources. Accessing or not the immoral site, it is returned to the user as an accessor. It is so unfortunate if the government block the sites for one reason only, cause then the users who use these tools for a good purpose will also get impact as well.
“If the government wants to protect the community by closing all the existing information, then the community will never learn. I think it’s better to socialize or counsel about how to be wise in using existing technology rather than blocking all access.”
Hendri appreciates the government’s good intentions in control and filtering the content, but there must be clear rules boundaries. Because if it is seen from the business side, then the government will gradually overly intervene. Business can no longer make its own decisions, and it violates the ethical points in the business.
After all, the technology especially the internet makes the information sources unlimited. Because anyone can access all the information they want to know. Now, it’s depends on government policy as the ultimate authority to refine the ITE (Electronic Information and Transactions) Law to avoid overlapping policies.
In addition, the government should be able to issue a two-way policy to the community, by building people’s mentality in using technology wisely. So no one will feel disadvantaged anymore or feel unsupported by the government in developing their creativity through internet technology.
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