New Web System Blocks 70,000 More Websites in Indonesia

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(Reuters)

State-run Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk (Telkom) launched a new system in January to help purge the internet of harmful material, and has since blocked more than 70,000 websites displaying “negative” content such as pornography or extremist ideology.

The so-called “crawling system” uses 44 servers to search internet content and issue alerts when inappropriate material is found.

“We just put some sort of key words there, most of them are pornographic,” Minister of Communication and Information Rudiantara told Reuters.

“Because after 2017 we have blocked almost 800,000 sites and more than 90 percent (of these were) pornographic,” said the minister.

The US$15 million system has helped block 72,407 pornography sites in January alone.

The new system installed by the Ministry of Communication and Information is part of Indonesia’s efforts to control online content after a rise in hoax stories and hate speech, and amid controversial anti-pornography laws pushed by Islamic parties.

The ministry also acts to get content removed from social media platforms if there are complaints from the public. Moreover, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community has also faced a crackdown and the ministry has requested Google to remove 73 LGBT-related apps from its play store in January.

Rudiantara said the relationship with social media companies and tech giants was improving and put some disagreements down to differences over what, for example, constitutes pornography.

“To us probably it is pornographic, because we refer to the laws of pornography in Indonesia. But for other parts of the world, they say it is not pornography, it is art,” he said.

“But now it’s getting better, particularly when we consider content associated with radicalism, terrorism… On that content, I think they respond very fast,” he said.

The minister also said that nine tech companies, including Google and Facebook, had recently pledged to help authorities fight fake news and hate speech during upcoming elections in the country.

Photo courtesy of thejakartapost.com

For more articles on Indonesia’s efforts to block websites, click here.

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