Data privacy

Kompas – February 19, 2020

Man: Mr, my data will be safe won’t it? (speech bubble above house reads ‘Yes, census online successful’)

Amid concerns over data privacy, the 2020 population census by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) has started with the online phase – which is hoped to ease access for public participation across the country – already being plagued by glitches.

Less than a week after the online census started, visitors have encountered slow webpage loading when attempted to fill in the online form, with the BPS saying it was because the servers became overloaded when multiple people accessed the website at the same time. The 2020 census will also utilise door-to-door interviews.

Many however are concerned over data privacy issues amid the absence of any data protection laws in Indonesia and the draft data protection law still languishing in parliament with little hope that it will be deliberated, let alone completed, any time soon.

As the level of internet and phone penetration in Indonesia has increased, there have been numerous cases of data being stolen and misused. Health records in Indonesia have been used to discriminate against individuals with HIV and some companies have refused to hire people with the illness.

Millions of phone users are regularly targeted by businesses that sent short message advertisements based on their location, with mobile phone networks violating their privacy by giving out data to third parties.

After thousands of complaints by consumers angered over a rising tide of messages offering collateral-free loans from banks, Bank Indonesia discovered that private customer data was being freely exchanged by companies hired by local banks to market such loans.

The government, too, has been taking steps to centralise citizens’ data online through the electronic ID card system, but with no regulations governing access to or use of this personal data.