In Indonesia, operators of online platforms have recently been required to register. However, some well-known Internet companies apparently missed the deadline for registration. The consequences are serious. Well-known companies such as the PayPal payment service and some websites for gamers are now no longer accessible in the huge island state.
Suspension since Saturday
Who wanted to use the popular payment service PayPal in Indonesia on Saturday, unfortunately looked into the void. The reason for this was by no means server problems. Rather, the authorities of the island state have paralyzed the website without further ado. The well-known search engine Yahoo and the major gaming platforms Steam and Epic Games suffered similar fates. This is due to a new law, which recently makes registration of the corresponding platforms mandatory. The news agency Reuters reports that the companies PayPal, Yahoo, Steam and Epic Games have missed just that deadline. Now they are unavailable for the time being. Given Indonesia’s population of 274 million, that should be quite noticeable.
PayPal gets grace period
Online payment service PayPal seems to have had another lucky break, unlike the major search engine and gaming platforms Epic Games and Steam. Thus, the Ministry of Communications of the island state decided to once again turn a blind eye to PayPal. The service should be allowed to stay online for a few days at least. This is probably due to the great popularity of the service. The new law, which is behind the obligation to register, is intended to ensure more state control of Internet companies. In order to achieve this, the responsible authorities are now required to cooperate more closely. Not only registration is to play a major role here. It is also important that the companies concerned pass on the data they have collected. The new law also now demands more transparency and a say for the state when it comes to blocking content.
Deadline for PayPal and Co. ran until Wednesday
Internet companies had until Wednesday last week to provide the required information as part of a registration process. A look at the “Law on Platform Regulation” makes it clear at first glance that the island state has a large target group in focus. The text of the law refers to “private providers of electronic systems. By the way, the legal obligation to register is not really new. A law was already introduced in 2020 that strengthens the state’s influence on the actions of Internet platforms. It is not only a disclosure of sensitive user data that plays a major role here. How drastic this is, makes a recently made court decision in New Zealand against Glassdoor clear.
The obligation of Internet companies to delete content upon request can also be found in the catalog of rules. Should the policy deem certain content illegal, the platform must delete it within just four hours. Content that is less questionable, but still prohibited in the eyes of the authorities, must be deleted within 24 hours. Just how important something like this can be is made clear by the tech company Meta. After all, the Facebook and Instagram parent is currently considering releasing misinformation about Covid-19.
An expensive missed deadline
Given the long deadline of almost two years, it is quite questionable why the major Internet platforms in particular have slept through the registration process. There may be several reasons behind this. For one thing, many Internet companies are not fond of close cooperation with authorities for understandable reasons. In particular, the request to delete content is a major intrusion. Regardless of the cause behind the failure, it is clear that PayPal and Co. no longer have a license to offer their Internet platforms in Indonesia. In view of the platforms’ high status, it did not take long for users to get wind of the blocking.
PayPal users took to the barricades, especially on social media. Many of the affected users use the online payment service as an independent bank account. As a result of the block, they lost access to their finances. Their frustration was felt above all by the Indonesian Ministry of Communications. However, the authority passed the ball directly to the companies concerned. The ministry emphasized that the block would be lifted if PayPal and Co. registered in accordance with the law. In the end, however, the pressure became too great. Accordingly, the exclusive postponement for PayPal of a total of five days came about.