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Indonesia new ‘virtual police’ adds to fears over loss of online civic space, civil freedoms

Tri Indah Oktavianti and Budi Sutrisno The Jakarta Post Fri, March 19, 2021

JAKARTA – The National Police’s move to launch a “virtual police squad”, or cyber patrol, for tracking social media posts containing criminally offensive content, has sparked widespread fear of state surveillance at a time when cybercrime is on the rise in Indonesia.

 The cyber patrol was set up last month as one of the 16 priority programs under the newly appointed police chief, Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo.

The move fulfills a plan announced last year by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD that the government would establish a special police unit to counter the rampant spread of misinformation online, which he said was “not that dangerous, but [was] ruining [public] opinion”. The new unit works closely with the cybercrimes division of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim).

SOURCE – The Jakarta Post, Indonesia Fri, March 19, 2021

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