Indonesia blocks 1 million porn sites, is just getting started

Indonesia blocks 1 million porn sites, is just getting started

Summary: The Indonesian government has blocked access to 1 million pornographic websites in advance of Ramadan, the country's holy month. Internet censorship is nothing new in Indonesia, but the scale of this particular restriction is unprecedented.

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Indonesia blocks 1 million porn sites

Indonesia can be a very strict place when it comes to the Internet (see Man faces five years for 'God does not exist' Facebook post). Most recently, the country's communications and information ministry has pulled the plug on pornographic websites in advance of Ramadan, which begins at sunset on Thursday.

We're not talking about just a handful of key portals. The Indonesian government has killed access to 1 million porn sites, all of which were based outside of the country. The ministry estimates there are around 2 billion websites providing pornographic content.

Apparently this is only the beginning. Minister Tifatul Sembiring said Wednesday his office would target more sites through the country's holy month, and beyond. "We will block more porn sites during Ramadan, though that doesn't mean that we will allow such sites to operate during the rest of the year," Sembiring told The Times of India. "Online pornography is an industry and the producers always seem to find new ways of escaping detection."

This is nothing new for Indonesia. Especially in recent years, the country's officials have increased their control over offensive online content, particularly related to porn and Islamic slander. The government regulates anything it deems inappropriate through legal and regulatory frameworks and through partnerships with ISPs and Internet cafés.

It all started in 2007 when some websites were blocked for brief periods of time. In April 2008, Indonesia ordered ISPs to block YouTube after Google reportedly did not respond to the government's request to remove the film "Fitna" by the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, which purportedly mocked the Prophet Muhammed.

In May 2010, when an account on Facebook promoted a competition to draw the Prophet, government officials asked the social networking giant to close the account and demanded all ISPs to limit access to the account's link (due to opposition from bloggers and civil society, the demand was disregarded). In January 2011, Research In Motion agreed to filter pornographic Internet content on its smartphones. The BlackBerry maker worked with local carriers and the Indonesian government to implement the blocks in what it called a "top priority."

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Topics: Security, Censorship, Government, Government Asia, Outage

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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8 comments
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  • Indonesia blocks 1 million porn sites, is just getting started

    That's not right, porn should be available to everybody over the age of 18.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Actually, 18 is too old

      This limitation would be a torture for people between 13 and 18, it is not humane. ;)
      DDERSSS
      • Agreed, why stop there with artificial limitations

        Why not teach p0rn in class from the 1st grade on, with plenty of live demonstrations? There's plenty of wh0res who'll do it for cheap, on or off tape (or hell, on or off the carpet). That way we teach 'em early and teach 'em right. Every "little junior" dog in trousers can valiantly volunteer their services to add to the bare bottomed skits. Hey let's make this fun -- and interactive!

        Why force the underaged to turn to Google for their daily dose?
        klumper
  • Futility

    As someone who lives in Indonesia I can attest that despite the Governments claim to the contrary their porn blocking is not at all effective. They rely on all the ISP's using a nameserver with the content blocking software. Simply by changing your modem setting to use the Google nameserver gets completely around it.
    KampungHighlander
    • Eh, Googs to the rescue

      Bless their pointed little heads. Trust me, your kids already worship da Googlemeister. ;)
      klumper
  • It is not effective

    It may work for technically not IT educated people and for teenagers who cannot pay.
    The others are aware of VPN, proxies, DNS etc and may use one of the hundred ways to unblock any site and stay anonymous.
    for example, Tor, PirateRay, BTGuard and many more
    Mia Pray
  • No restrictions on P O R N !! Pulease in the name of disease

    "The government regulates anything it deems inappropriate through legal and regulatory frameworks and through partnerships with ISPs and Internet cafés."

    *G A S P* NOOOOOOOOOO! That includes public venues! *G A S P*

    "In January 2011, Research In Motion agreed to filter pornographic Internet content on its smartphones."

    *G A S P* NOOOOOOOOOO! Every kid and trench-coated male I know owns one! What will our 10-14 year old's do for their now compulsive porn fixes! *G A S P*

    O M G what would God do? G O O G L E show us the way!
    klumper
  • ANONYMOUS

    maybe some anonymous attack should work.... :D
    danieldainihon23