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Indonesia bans access to Steam, Epic Games, PayPal, and more

The Indonesian government has blocked access to a range of online services, including Steam, Epic Games, PayPal, and Yahoo after the companies failed to comply with a new requirement related to the country’s restrictive content moderation laws, as reported earlier by Reuters.

In line with the rules, companies deemed “Private Electronic System Providers” must register with the government’s database to operate in the country, or otherwise face a nationwide ban. Indonesia gave companies until July 27th to comply and has since banned those that haven’t.

The requirement is part of an overarching law, called MR5, which was first introduced in 2020. As noted by Reuters, the laws give the Indonesian government the ability to obtain data about specific users, as well as coerce companies into removing content that “disturbs public order” or is considered illegal. Platforms have four hours to take action on “urgent” removal requests, or 24 hours in the case of any other content.

A 2021 report from the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls Indonesia’s laws “invasive of human rights,” as it puts platforms at the mercy of the Indonesian government, which will ban them if not in compliance with local laws. Earlier this month, the EFF penned a letter to the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), urging the government to repeal its “invasive content moderation rules.”

The ban has left users in Indonesia stuck without the ability to process payments or even play certain games. As pointed out by Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, some other popular games and services affected by the ban include Origin, DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike. Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify registered for a license last week, and all remain available.

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According to Reuters, Kominfo general director Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan said the country may give users access to PayPal for a small window of time during the ban. Pangerapan also noted that the ban will be lifted once the companies register with the country’s database. It’s unclear when these services will come back online, or if they’ll register with the Indonesian database. PayPal, Epic Games, and Valve didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

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