Indonesia’s listening in on your private chat groups. WhatsApp with that?

These days people are getting more and more cautious about what apps they allow to have access to their cameras and microphones, due to the stories we hear or watch on TV about the government watching us. You are probably reading this with a bit of sticky tape covering the camera of your laptop…

Recently last year, a major row about social media surveillance erupted in Indonesia following a government shut-down of the popular social media platform, WhatsApp. The site removed 61,000 accounts without any given reason.

The act occurred following a highly disputed election in April 2019, and observers are now questioning the government’s powers to limit the online freedoms of its citizens. According to KontraS – the human rights non-profit organisation – the shutdown of these accounts did not do anything in terms of stopping the riots, and if anything, the group said it just shows, “the states lack of responsibility”.

Rickynaldo Chairul, the head of the Cybercrime Unit in the Indonesian National police has reported to The South China Morning Post admitting that, “Many people think that spreading hoaxes on WhatsApp is safer than on social media, that’s why we decided to carry out a cyber patrol on WhatsApp chat groups.”

Legally the government has authority to prevent unlawful content being spread across social media, however the lack of regulation on wiretapping and data protection is what is disconcerting, and much more likely to make people untrustworthy of whose reading or listening to what conversation.

Original article written by Resty Woro Yuniar on The South China Post

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