05 August 2010

No Ban on BlackBerry in Indonesia?

The Ministry of Communication and Information through its spokesperson, Gatot Dewa Broto, stated that there was no plan to ban BlackBerry or its services in Indonesia.

The push from the Ministry is to only get BlackBerry to open a "data center" in Indonesia so that data did not have to be routed through Canada. The rationale here is that this would lower costs for Indonesian consumers and speed up services because data would presumably not have so far to travel to be processed.

I am not techno wizard, but that sounds like waffle to me, particularly in this age of instantaneous technology.

According to the Ministry, there is no urgency to close off the services. So, this must mean that Indonesia does not hold the same national security concerns that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, going on past form, it would seem likely that the Government of Indonesia is prepared to threaten to block BlackBerry imports if it does not get its way with a service center. So, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Minister TitS and his Ministry will back flip on this and seek to restrict or ban services.

The other possibility here is that the MUI steps in and issues a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from using BlackBerry smartphones because the phones are deemed to be haram in Islam. And, as one of my commenters to a previous post pointed out, the MUI is prepared to consider anything once a request has been made of it. Perhaps Minister TitS could ask the MUI what they think of the current shenanigans.

Time will tell. But, it would not be the first time the Indonesian government has reversed a previously stated position (Indonesia is not alone in the reversing of positions, I have recently been watching a retrospective on recent Australian government reversals on all manner of things - climate change for example).

I am no longer in Indonesia and I am not a BlackBerry owner. However, the associated privacy issues are interesting.

Ho hum...

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