Indonesia’s IT Ministry threatens to ban Google, Meta in 3 days over admin requirement

Photo: Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash
Photo: Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash

If this actually goes ahead, say goodbye to practically all forms of online-based productivity and leisure, as Indonesia is threatening to ban some of the world’s biggest internet companies. 

The Information and Communications Ministry has set a July 20 deadline – two days from today – for local and international internet services to officially register as an Electronic Systems Provider (PSE) with the ministry. Failure to comply would result in an operational ban in the country effective July 21. 

Among the ministry’s reported no-PSE list are Google and its suite of services, including YouTube, as well as Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Other big names include Netflix, PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends.

The latter two mobile games have said they are working on their PSE registration, but there is no word yet for intent of compliance by Meta and Google.

Those who have registered as PSEs include local apps Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka, as well as international apps like Spotify and Linktree.

The ministry’s ban threat is certainly nothing new, as companies have missed past deadlines without any notable consequence.

The ministry issued a regulation requiring digital services to register as PSEs, for the purposes of cyber security and user protection, on November 24, 2020 or face a ban in Indonesia. But the threat has proven to be a bluff so far, as local and international tech companies that have missed the registration deadline, despite several extensions, have not even gotten a slap on the wrist.

The ministry has been known to ban apps and platforms on legal and/or moral grounds in recent years. These include gay dating app Blued, which was banned for its “immoral” LGBT content, TikTok for its general “negative content,” and Telegram for allegedly facilitating the spread of radical content, though the bans for the latter two have since been lifted.

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