IT Ministry looking into automatic pornography detection tech after saying it’s only managed to manually block 800,000 sites

If there’s one battle that’s impossible to win, it’s the battle to block every single instance of internet porn. But that is the battle the Indonesian government has been engaged in ever since internet pornography was officially made illegal in 2008. Since then, the censors have been doing their best to limit the exponential growth of internet porn by blocking naughty websites one by one.

The Communications and Information Ministry (Kemenkominfo), which is tasked with blocking pornographic and other illicit content from the Indonesian Internet, said they have managed to block 800,000 porn websites so far. That may seem like quite an impressive feat, considering the ministry employs people to manually trawl through the world wide web to identify and block porn websites.

However, the ministry conceded that what they have managed to block represents only a minuscule portion of all porn websites on the internet – which numbers in the tens of millions, by their estimation. For that reason, the ministry is looking to launch an automatic porn detection and blocking system to combat internet porn more effectively.

“We have told the minister (Rudiantara) that we want to erase all pornographic content (from the internet). Even though we can’t target them all, we want to (take down) the majority. Maybe next year we’ll have the tool to clean up that contents, so that (porn blocking) is more effective,” said Samuel A Pangerapan, director general of Information Application at Kemenkominfo, as quoted by Republika yesterday.

While Pangerapan did not go into specific detail about the automated system, he said that it would be able to automatically detect even when internet users search for porn using a search engine and enforce the block at that point.

“Yes, there will be an automatic monitoring system. Right now, actual people are doing the (monitoring) work. We feel sorry for them that they are forced to look at stuff like that every day,” Pangerapan said.

But Pangerapan did not give any guarantees that the automated system would yield the desired results. In fact, possibly the most sensible thing he said about this matter is his concession that the government might not be able to curb people’s demand for porn.

“The internet is open, every day there’s new pornographic websites or the existing ones get modified. That means the public must be able to censor (pornographic content) themselves,” he said.

Asking citizens to act like mature adults and make decisions by themselves without a government babysitter monitoring everything we can see and do on the internet? What a crazy idea.

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CITY: JAKARTACATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: TECH

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