Virtual police

Kompas – March 4, 2021

The Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) has criticised the recently established virtual police (VP) unit which is tasked with monitoring the online activities of netizens.

The unit – the brainchild of Indonesian police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo – was ostensibly formed to prevent indictments under the draconian Information and Electronic Transaction Law (UU ITE).

SAFEnet Executive Director Damar Juniarto however said that instead of providing a sense of security it will give rise to new fears and intrude into the private lives of citizens.

"This will instead give rise to new fears, where the police can appear at any time in citizen's private [digital] space", Juniarto told CNN Indonesia on February 25.

Juniarto continued saying that it as if the virtual police are reviving an Orwellian State where the state continuously monitors what is being done by its citizens.

"[Evan] without this direct police presence, people are already afraid of the threat of the UU ITE [being used against them], never mind with methods such as this", he said.

Last month the police officially launched the virtual police unit to monitor potential violations of the ITE Law on the internet.

According to national police spokesperson Inspector General Argo Yuwono, the virtual police's role will be to maintain security and public order so that activities in the cyber world can be clean, healthy and productive.

Based on February 26 article by CNN Indonesia titled SAFEnet concerned new virtual police unit could create 'Orwellian State'.