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Government orders ISPs to start anti-porn filtering

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders calls on communication and information minister Tifatul Sembiring to rescind his announced plans for Internet filtering. According to the minister, Indonesia's more than 200 Internet service providers have agreed to begin blocking access to porn sites on 11 August 2010, the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

"This measure is absolutely pointless, it is complicated to implement and it could set a dangerous precedent for freedom of expression," Reporters Without Borders said.

There are many reasons for opposing this policy. No list of sites to be banned has been given to ISPs, which will have to decide for themselves which sites should be blocked. Filtering websites inevitably causes collateral damage by blocking other websites with no direct link to pornography. It will also slow down connection speeds throughout the country.

Once the mechanism has been put in place, the authorities will be tempted to extend the filtering to more controversial and ill-defined areas such as violation of moral standards.

The filtering was prompted by the circulation of videos purportedly showing a well-known pop singer having sex with two TV presenters. This led to the Internet being blamed for a decline in values in Indonesian society.

The directive that the minister sent to ISPs instructing them to implement the filtering has not been published. But those The ISPs have objected to the measure on the grounds that it will be difficult to implement.

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