FIPR Alert: Indonesia Finds Banning Pornography Is Difficult

I find the FIPR alert service invaluable. It looks as though Indonesia may be about to practice what we Westerners preach: state the political objective and leave industry to work out how to deliver it. I assume the intention is that those local ISPs who fail to block pornography during Ramadan comply will have their operations taken down by “religious volunteers” with no need for the government to actually do anything. I looks to me like a nice mix of “self governance” and “community action” from which we might all be able to learn. We might not agree on what it is that we will have learned – but that is life.


For those of you who have not yet had the good sense to sign up to the FIPR alert service the full text of the alert was … 

“Another example of politicians thinking that blocking is easy…

Apparently they have a keyword based blocking system in place on the Government networks, so it must be trivial to roll that out at national scale! and in just a few weeks!!


GILI MENO, INDONESIA — As one of the heads of the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association, Valens Riyadi knows he has his work cut out for him.

Last month, the country’s information minister, Tifatul Sembiring, said that local service providers would have to start blocking online pornography by the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts Aug. 11. That deadline is fast approaching, and Mr. Riyadi says he still has no idea how he is going to put a filter in place.

“It’s really a hard thing to do in technical terms,” he said. “For me, it’s almost an impossible task.”

Mr. Sembiring has won plaudits for pledging to curb online pornography in this Muslim-majority democracy of 240 million people, and for following regional peers like China, Thailand and Singapore into the fraught world of Internet screening. But the problem, Mr. Riyadi says, is that the minister’s plan is really no plan at all.

No official decree has been issued, no list of banned sites has been published and no details have surfaced on who will pay for monitoring and screening of Web sites. The minister has, however, threatened the roughly 230 Internet service providers in Indonesia with closure if they fail to block pornographic sites for the country’s 40 million Internet users.