Talking about Digital Privacy with Indonesian Activists

by Dhyta Caturani December 21, 2015
In March 2015, EngageMedia partnered with Access and the Foundation for Media Alternatives to conduct RightsCon Southeast Asia, a digital rights conference that brought together 600 participants from the region and beyond. Over the three-day event, there were several side meetings to discuss country-specific issues and potential collaborations with regards to internet rights. One of the results of those meetings was an emerging Indonesian network of digital rights activists.

Following RightsCon, EngageMedia wanted to contribute by creating spaces for deeper conversations and strategies on pressing digital rights issues both at a national and regional level. One such meeting was conducted in Jakarta in collaboration with SAFENET on 28 September 2015 , an Indonesian digital rights advocacy non-profit. The one-day round-table discussion included representatives from organizations working on issues such as policy advocacy, anti-corruption, youth issues, LGBT, women's rights, internet rights, and media freedom.

The discussion opened with a discussion on what digital privacy meant to the participants. Based on the trend how openly people share their private and personal information on the internet, we found that many people don't fully understand or care much about their privacy. The assumption was that people don't understand the dangers of releasing such personal information, although there are a number of recently reported cases of privacy breaches and abuse faced by those who use transportation applications such as Go-Jek.

Jakarta DigiRights

The second session was a brief presentation by EngageMedia on privacy, elaborating the concept of privacy, digital communication models, data, surveillance, types of privacy violationa, and the actors involved.

This was followed by representatives from ELSAM and WikiDPR on the draft bill on Privacy in Indonesia, some of its problematic content, and the challenging process of advocating on the bill. There are not many organizations or individuals at the event involved in advocating on the bill even though a lot of support from civil society is needed to get the bill "right" (one that actually protects the privacy of the citizens) before being passed and enacted. This is especially crucial given we have 16 regulations in various laws that allow authorities to conduct surveillance (tracking, digital conversation tapping and data retention) on citizens with or without court orders.

At the end of meeting participants agreed on taking up the issues collectively by setting up a working group that will share relevant information and knowledge and conduct shared to raise awareness and initiate action on digital privacy in Indonesia.