BlackBerry Ban Threat Set to Remain Despite Pledge to Cooperate From RIM
Ismira Lutfia & Camelia Pasandaran
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion said on Monday it would work to set up filters for its Web services in response to the government’s demands it block access to pornography on its devices.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, however, said its threat to ban the Canadian company’s services in Indonesia would stay in place until its Jan. 21 deadline.
In a statement made available to the Jakarta Globe on Monday, RIM said it shared Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring’s “sense of urgency” on the issue and it was “fully committed to working with Indonesia’s carriers to put in place a prompt, compliant filtering solution for BlackBerry subscribers in Indonesia as soon as possible.”
RIM also said it had been engaged with the government on the matter and continued to make it a top priority to implement satisfactory technical solutions with its carrier partners as soon as possible.
Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said the statement was appreciated and viewed it as a positive step.
“But this is not the answer to the problem,” he said, adding that the government would seek further assurances during a meeting in Jakarta with representatives from RIM and six service providers.
It is expected RIM will make a final decision on whether to comply with the ministry’s requests at the meeting on Jan. 17.
State-owned Telkomsel, which offers BlackBerry services, has said it would comply with the country’s pornography laws.
Febriati Nadira, a spokeswoman for XL Axiata, has also said it was in talks with the government to find the “best solution” to the matter.
Apart from blocking access to pornographic Web sites, Tifatul has also been adamant in demanding that RIM set up local servers to allow the country’s law enforcers to monitor data sent between BlackBerry users.
“All telecommunications operators in Indonesia have complied with the regulation. Why not RIM? I think that they will, but they should not delay,” the minster said.
Tifatul reiterated on Monday that the government would seek a ban on BlackBerry services if RIM failed to filter pornographic Web sites on its handsets by Jan. 21.
“We cannot tolerate it. If we have to be strict with our domestic operators, why shouldn’t we be strict with foreign operators?” he said.
Domestic operators are also required to filter pornography.
The minister assured the country’s estimated two million BlackBerry users the ban would only block access to the device’s Web services and not affect the popular BlackBerry Messenger service.
If the Canadian manufacturer failed to meet the deadline, Tifatul said the ministry would begin the legal process that could see RIM’s license revoked.
The company could be charged with breaching the 1999 Telecommunications Law, 2008 Information and Electronic Transaction Law and 2008 Antipornography Law.