On 1st August 2022, the Indonesian government (Kominfo) unblocked the gaming platform, Steam, payments firm PayPal, and search engine, Yahoo over licensing issues. The aforementioned companies have complied with Indonesian jurisdiction. However, Origin and Epic Games haven't publically addressed the blocking and remain blocked.
Steam, PayPal, & Yahoo Comply With Kominfo
The unblocking comes after platforms and many others were blocked on 29th July 2022 amid licensing drama. The Indonesian government blocked Steam, Origin, Epic Games, and Battle.net on that date after not complying with its online platform and services law.
This Monday, the Indonesian government announced Steam, PayPal, and Yahoo were unblocked and reinstated after complying with Kominfo by registering themselves under Indonesian jurisdiction.
The good news is that Valve has registered with Kominfo and Steam is now officially unblocked and accessible in Indonesia.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 2, 2022
However, Epic Games Store / Services and EA's Origin still remained blocked and there is no official confirmation on whether they plan to register yet. https://t.co/0BwK16Hpzl
It's been a difficult couple of days, but unblocking the aforementioned platforms and services should mean a much more enjoyable week ahead for Indonesia's gaming community. This is good news for Indonesian gamers, as it means they can play games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive again. However, it also could mean a significant shift in the system for gamers.
Epic Games and Origin remain blocked and still haven't publically addressed its Indonesian community about what's to be expected moving forward.
How Does Indonesia's Law Affect Its Gamers?
In an informative article by Electronic Frontier Foundation, Indonesia has 191 million netizens who access platforms and services online, from Instagram to Steam and even Yahoo. The law ordered by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court allows the government “to block internet access during periods of unrest” and many more things.
The government has ordered all foreign online platforms and services to comply and register their companies under Indonesian jurisdiction. Under the law, the Indonesian government will have the power to compel platforms to disclose data of specific users and take down unlawful content.
Not only are these platforms or services like Steam or PayPal ordered to oblige, but secure private messaging apps like Messenger, Whatsapp, and iMessage. This ruling means the government wants to close secure end-to-end encryption messaging.
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Platforms and services need an identification certificate, even if company infrastructures are outside Indonesia. If platforms like Origin or Epic games want to provide their games in Indonesia, they’ll need to register their company under the government. This ruling allows the government to compel companies to give what they want or revoke their services or platforms.
If a company refuses to grant the government access to its “systems and data to ensure effectiveness in the monitoring and law enforcement process.” That company can be warned, temporarily blocked, blocked, or revoked.
For gamers, the licensing law gives the Indonesian government control over what’s filtered to the public, meaning if a game doesn’t see fit for officials, they have every right to compel the platforms to take it down or block them.
In other words, if they find Dota 2 or a cosmetic or feature in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive offensive or harmful to “lawful order,” they can force Steam to take the game down, make adjustments, or remove these features.
In the end, Indonesian gamers won’t only have their free expression and online activity monitored, but playing new and old games might get much more complicated. It might get a little more challenging to truly explore the freedom of the internet, let alone games online, with Indonesia’s law slamming down on platforms and services.
Time will only tell if gaming will be massively affected and revolutionized because of the law approaching the future as Indonesia’s gaming community shifts during tumultuous times.
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Featured image courtesy of Steam.