Telegram Ready to Block Terrorism-Related Content in Indonesia

Vincent Carr
July 17, 2017

"The KDN's (Home Ministry's) observation, especially by the Anti-Terrorism Unit and the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), find that the application (Telegram) has so far not been used in matters related to crime or for recruiting or raising funds for terrorism activities", he told reporters after attending an Aidilfitri Open House at Jakel Mal here, yesterday.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara, who goes by one name, said he had received an apology from Durov, who was apparently not aware of several requests from the ministry since 2016.

Pavel Durov, founder of the messaging app, said in on Telegram that there had been a "miscommunication" with Indonesian authorities, as he was not aware of a request by the government to take down certain channels.

The Southeast Asian nation has grappled with terrorism for more than a decade.

"Telegram is heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists", Mr Durov said on his Telegram channel, adding he was "upset" over Indonesia's ban.

"We are forming a dedicated team of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian culture and language to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more quickly and accurately", Durov said.

The address came following an abrupt limiting of messaging service Telegram late last week.

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The ministry's director for information application, Sameul Pangerapan, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday there had been "data collecting and correspondence" with Telegram prior to blocking access to it.

The web version of the messaging service can no longer be accessed in the archipelago, with preparations to also shut down the application if the company does not prepare standard operating procedures, the government said.

The announcement comes after Indonesia limited access to the app and threatened a total ban.

It said in a statement that numerous app's public channels contained radical propaganda and terrorism-related content.

Telegram also offers "Secret Chat", which uses end-to-end encryption and leaves no traces on its servers.

Infiltration, she said, was more "realistic and urgent" and the government should aim to identify and map out ISIS networks on Telegram.

She pointed out that the platform has indeed been used to spread radicalized messages and has served as a place of recruitment for terrorists. He noted a 22-year-old terror suspect had found instructions for building a rice cooker bomb online.

Other reports by BadHub

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