Indonesia blocks Steam, PayPal and other services over missed regulatory deadline

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ndonesia blocks Steam, PayPal and other services over missed regulatory deadline

The platforms failed to register with the government in time.

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Igor Bonifacic

I. Bonifacic

@igorbonifacic

July 30, 2022 5:36 PM

In this article: InternetnewsgearPayPalValvewebSteamYahoo

A futuristic bridge and high rise buildings in Jakarta business district.
Ali Trisno Pranoto via Getty Images

Indonesia is blocking residents from accessing various online platforms after those services failed to comply with a July 29th regulatory deadline, reports Reuters (via The Verge). Among the affected platforms are PayPal, Steam and Yahoo (owned by Engadget’s parent company Apollo Management).

Under the country’s 2020 MR5 law, companies labeled as “Private Electronic System Providers” had until this week to register with a government database or face an outright ban. Similar to India’s restrictive 2021 IT law, MR5 gives Indonesia the power to force online platforms to take down content the government deems unlawful or a threat to public order. In instances involving “urgent” requests, services have four hours to take action.

According to Reuters, a handful of tech companies, including Google, Meta and Amazon, rushed in recent days to meet Friday’s deadline. Indonesia may restore access to some of the online services that are currently blocked in the country, provided they register with the government.

PayPal and Valve did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment. Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, the general director of Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information, told a local news network that the government could temporarily lift restrictions on PayPal to allow users to withdraw their money.

Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch have criticized Indonesia’s new content moderation rules. “[MR5] is a tool for censorship that imposes unrealistic burdens on the many digital services and platforms that are used in Indonesia,” said Linda Lakhdhir, Asia legal advisor at Human Rights Watch. “It poses serious risks to the privacy, freedom of speech, and access to information of Indonesian internet users.”

Many Indonesians have also come out against the law, using hashtags like “BlokirKominfo” to voice their opposition to the government’s actions. On Saturday, Pangerapan dismissed those criticisms, saying the measure would help protect the country’s internet users.

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