RIM promises to set up filters in Indonesia

Canadian phonemaker working with local carriers and Indonesian government in efforts to block pornographic content on BlackBerry services in the country.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Setting up Internet filters in Indonesia is "top priority" for Research In Motion (RIM) and the company is cooperating with the local government and carriers to implement porn blockers on its BlackBerry services.

In an e-mail statement to ZDNet Asia, the Canadian phonemaker said it has been in discussions with the government and carriers in Indonesia to set up an Internet filter and remains committed to implement satisfactory technical solutions with its partners.

According to a report Monday by BusinessWeek, Indonesia Communication and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring said RIM has until Jan. 21 to begin filtering porn sites or face legal actions including revocation of its services.

Muhammad Budi Setyawan, the ministry's director general of post and telecommunications at the ministry, said the government is not targeting RIM but pornographic Web sites and will meet with RIM and six mobile service providers on Jan. 17 with its request to filter pornographic content. He noted that if RIM refuses to filter such materials, the company might be asked to to shut down its browser service.

According to RIM's statement, the BlackBerry maker agrees with the ministry's "sense of urgency" on the issue.

Tifatul since last August has ordered Internet service providers in Indonesia to block pornographic Web sites.

The move, according to Reporters Without Borders, was sparked by the circulation of videos reportedly revealing local celebrities having sex, leading to critics blaming the Internet for declines in values in the Indonesian society.

The government's demand for anti-porn Web filters has been met with dissent by some citizens, noted a report by AFP, which quoted a Twitter user who questioned if blocking BlackBerry services would be effective in reducing the flow of pornographic content in the country.

According to the The Jakarta Post, Tifatul also outlined other demands on his Twitter account, such as setting up a server in the country for law enforcement officials to track down corruption suspects.

Indonesia is considered an important market for RIM in the Asia-Pacific region and often singled out as a success story for the BlackBerry maker. In a ZDNet Asia report last April, RIM's Asia-Pacific director, Gregory Wade, pointed to how prepaid BlackBerry services in the country had played a key role in boosting the company's growth in Indonesia.

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