While there has been massive outrage surrounding the IT Ministry’s (Kominfo) decision to ban online services over license breaches, the saga may have presented somewhat of a silver lining for two platforms that have long been blocked in Indonesia: Reddit and Vimeo.
Kominfo this week blocked access to the likes of Yahoo!, Steam, and PayPal over the platforms’ failures to register as Electronic Service Providers (PSE) with the ministry. Kominfo introduced the requirement in 2020, ostensibly for the purposes of cyber security and user protection.
The bans were lifted indefinitely yesterday after Kominfo became the target for immense public ire, with critics arguing that losing access to the popular platform crippled their ability to work, interact, and play online.
Amid the saga, Kominfo did say that the PSE registration requirement has now opened the door for online services that have been inaccessible in the country for years (VPN and other workarounds notwithstanding). These include online forum Reddit — dubbed the front page of the internet — and video platform Vimeo.
“Access will be open [to Reddit and Vimeo],” Kominfo’s director general of informatics applications, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, said responding to a query on the two platforms’ fates if they register as PSEs in Indonesia.
Vimeo and Reddit were blocked in Indonesia in 2014 and 2015, respectively, over pornographic content that could be found on the two sites. While neither are exclusively pornographic sites, Semuel said that their refusal to moderate their content to comply with Indonesia’s anti-pornography laws led to their bans.
Should Reddit and Vimeo register as PSEs in Indonesia, they would be compelled to comply with Kominfo’s regulations, essentially meaning that the ministry would have unilateral power to take down any content it deems undesirable.
Neither Reddit nor Vimeo have publicly outlined intention to obtain the PSE license in Indonesia.