A new criminal code passed by Indonesia’s parliament on 6 December has attracted significant domestic and international controversy. The new law criminalizes sex outside of marriage (which includes all LGBTQIA+ relationships, as same sex marriage is illegal) and defamation of the president. It also expands anti-blasphemy laws, which has drawn the most criticism.
Indonesian officials told the New York Times that preparations involved months of conversations with human rights groups. The new laws will take effect in 2025, and deputy minister of law and human rights, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, encouraged citizens who fear their constitutional rights will be violated to file cases with the Constitutional Court in the interim.
After six years of deliberations, Indonesia’s House of Representatives approved the Personal Data Protection Bill on 10 September. Modelled on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Bill aims to regulate all forms of data storage and processing, streamline Indonesia’s disparate data protection regulations, and authorize the creation of a supervising body. Indonesia has struggled with data leaks and security breaches in recent years.
In July the Ministry of Communication and Information announced the requirement of all Electronic System Operators to register and apply for a licence to maintain their operations in the country. Several firms, including PayPal, Yahoo and Steam were subsequently blocked for failure to comply. Civil society organizations are concerned that the regulation does not comply with human rights principles and can be used for surveillance and censorship.