BlackBerry begins porn ban in Indonesia

January 22nd, 2011 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Jan 22 (IANS) BlackBerry Friday stopped access to pornography on its smart phones in Indonesia.It is the first time that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has agreed to filter pornographic content under pressure from any country.

The decision follows after the world’s biggest Muslim nation of 237 million people gave RIM the deadline of Jan 21 to shut down BlackBerry services and revoke its licence if it didn’t stop access to pornography. Reports from Jakarta said porn websites, including Playboy, couldn’t be accessed by users.

Those who tried to access porn sites met with the response: “This website can’t be accessed via this network,” Bernama news agency said.

However, pornography materials can still be accessed via websites using other addresses, the news agency said.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post, “This shows that the concerns raised by me were not absurd demands but realistic ones based on existing regulations, which RIM was supposed to heed.

“Therefore, the ministry appreciates RIM’s Canadian management for fulfilling its commitment to filter pornographic content before the deadline.”

Since some porn content still may slip through the filter, the minister said his ministry “realizes that in the cyber world there is a lot of pornography that is easily accessible. Therefore, the ministry asks RIM to continue filtering as best it can.”

When RIM was served with the notice last year, it had said that it is “fully committed to working with Indonesia’s carriers to put in place a prompt, compliant filtering solution for Blackberry subscribers in Indonesia as soon as possible.”

Indonesia currently has about three million BlackBerry users and generates about $250 million for RIM. Indonesia was among many countries, including India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, which last year demanded access to RIM encrypted data for security reasons.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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