Today, May 3, Open Net, Access Now, and Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus curiae submission challenging the validity of Ministerial Regulation 5/2020 (MR5), which empowers the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) to block websites on grounds that are overbroad, and which do not comply with international human rights law and Indonesia’s constitution.
“Indonesia’s MR5 obligates all domestic and overseas business users of the internet to register with the authorities, making them vulnerable to future government pressure on various aspects of their operation such as content moderation. On top of that, the authorities are enforcing the registration obligation with the penalty of complete blocking. This is disproportionate. ” said K.S. Park, Executive Director, Open Net.
The submission was filed in a suit relating to Kominfo’s blocking of at least eight websites, including Yahoo, Steam, and PayPal last year. The operators had not registered within a six-month stipulated deadline. The stringent registration guidelines would have required them to allow law enforcement access to their data and systems. These blockings caused serious inconvenience to many people relying on them for work and personal use.
The submission argues that MR5’s blocking powers undermine international human rights law and Indonesia’s constitution in providing Kominfo with arbitrary executive powers to overbroadly block sites and online expression and information without narrowly defined necessary and proportionate limitations. Lacking strict guidelines, the law risks violation of free expression, and economic and cultural rights.
The amicus brief was submitted to the Jakarta State Administrative Court where the case against MR5 was filed by the Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia and Union of Media and Creative Industries Workers for Democracy. Access Now and other civil society organizations have called on the Kominfo urging them to repeal MR5 for non-compliance with international human rights standards.