August 1st may not be a glorious day for Indonesian gamers as the Indonesian government banned access to several entertainment websites and platforms, including Nintendo, Epic Games, and the world's leading online gaming platform, Steam.
What Is Kominfo?
Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) implemented a new policy where both local and foreign tech and games companies must formally register to Kominfo before they can operate in the country. Following the implementation, those major companies operating in Indonesia have to register over the weekend without any grace period or extension, resulting in several companies deciding to postpone. That said, those who did not successfully comply over the weekend to Kominfo were instantly banned, including Nintendo, Epic Games, EA, Ubisoft, and Steam. Even several tech giants like Yahoo, Bing, and Paypal were not safe with Kominfo's abrupt recent licensing rules.
As reported by Global Voices, these new policies have been disputed by human rights advocates inside and outside Indonesia:
"The mandatory registration of private electronic systems operators (ESOs) is stipulated in the Ministerial Regulation 5 (MR5) issued in December 2020. Its amended version, Ministerial Regulation 10 (MR10), was released in May 2021."
Both MR5 and MR10 have been consistently opposed by the media, civil society groups, and human rights advocates for containing provisions that pose a threat to freedom of expression.
Following the restriction, #BlokirKominfo (Block Kominfo) trended on Twitter and the people expressed how the ban affected their lives.
The #BlokirKominfo Movement
Paypal was reinstated in Indonesia but only for a limited time just to allow users to withdraw their money from the platform. However, for gaming platforms, reports haven't surfaced yet if it will be reinstated in the country. Kominfo's report is listed below:
“By tracking the gaming companies currently active in Indonesia, the government can promote more game jams between local and foreign game companies or fund internship opportunities to major game studios.”
Steam's Dota 2 and CS:GO are very mainstream in Indonesia, and it's absolutely hard not to wonder how the massive number of Indonesian gamers would respond to this regulation. For now, while the ban is currently ongoing, they certainly haven't enjoyed playing these games over the weekend, unless they used a VPN.
It's still worth noting that these platforms and sites are not totally banned, instead, the access is just restricted. Hopefully, they could register to Kominfo in the subsequent weeks so that gamers along with the whole Indonesian community get back their access to these services.
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