PayPal, Yahoo and Steam blocked in Indonesia

In Indonesia, online platform operators were recently required to register. However, some well-known Internet companies apparently missed the registration deadline. The consequences are serious. Well-known companies such as the payment service PayPal and some websites for gamers are no longer accessible in the huge island state.

Suspension since Saturday

Who wanted to use the popular payment service PayPal in Indonesia on Saturday, unfortunately searched in a vacuum. The reason was in no way server issues. On the contrary, the authorities of the island state crippled the website without further ado. The famous search engine Yahoo and the main gaming platforms Steam and Epic Games suffered the same fate. This is due to a new law, which recently made the registration of corresponding platforms mandatory. The Reuters news agency reports that the companies PayPal, Yahoo, Steam and Epic Games have missed this deadline. Now they are unavailable at the moment. Considering Indonesia’s population of 274 million, this should be quite noticeable.

PayPal gets a grace period

Online payment service PayPal seems to have had another stroke of luck, unlike major search engines and gaming platforms Epic Games and Steam. Thus, the island state’s Ministry of Communications decided to turn a blind eye to PayPal again. The service should be allowed to stay online for a few days at least. This is probably due to the high popularity of the service. The new law, which is the origin of the registration requirement, aims to ensure greater state control over Internet companies. To achieve this, the responsible authorities are now required to cooperate more closely. Not only registration should play a major role here. It is also important that the companies concerned pass on the data they have collected. The new law also demands more transparency and a say in the state when it comes to content blocking.

The deadline for PayPal and Co. ran until Wednesday

Internet companies had until Wednesday last week to provide required information as part of a registration process. A look at the “Platform Regulation Act” clearly shows at first glance that the island state is focusing on a broad target group. The text of the law refers to “private providers of electronic systems. By the way, the legal obligation to register is not really new. A law has already been introduced in 2020 that strengthens the influence of the state on the actions of Internet platforms. It is not only the disclosure of sensitive user data that plays a major role here. How drastic this is, makes clear a recent New Zealand court ruling against Glassdoor.

The obligation of Internet companies to remove content on request can also be found in the catalog of rules. If the policy deems certain content illegal, the platform must remove it in just four hours. Content that is less questionable, but still banned in the eyes of the authorities, must be removed within 24 hours. Tech company Meta explains how important something like this can be. After all, parent Facebook and Instagram are currently planning to spread misinformation about Covid-19.

A costly missed deadline

Given the long delay of nearly two years, one wonders why the major internet platforms in particular have been sleeping through the registration process. There can be several reasons behind this. On the one hand, many Internet companies do not like close cooperation with the authorities for understandable reasons. In particular, the content removal request is a major intrusion. Whatever the cause of the failure, it is clear that PayPal and Co. no longer has a license to offer its internet platforms in Indonesia. Given the high status of the platforms, users were quick to hear about the blockage.

PayPal users have taken to the barricades, especially on social networks. Many affected users use the online payment service as an independent bank account. As a result of the blockage, they lost access to their finances. Their frustration was mostly felt by the Indonesian Ministry of Communications. However, the authority passed the ball directly to the companies concerned. The ministry stressed that the block would be lifted if PayPal and Co. registered in accordance with the law. In the end, however, the pressure got too much. As a result, the exclusive postponement for PayPal of a total of five days took place.

About Marjorie C. Hudson

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