Indonesia Bans Steam, Epic Games, PayPal, EA Play/Origin, and More

The Indonesian government recently blocked access to several large gaming services that didn’t comply with the country’s new MR5 content moderation law by registering with the government database. Those affected include Steam, Epic Games Store, and EA Play/Origin. Other big sites like PayPal and Yahoo also didn’t register and, as a result, are now unreachable in Indonesia.

Indonesia blocks major game services and payment processors nationwide

MR5 requires every Private Electronic System Operator (ESO) to register with the Indonesian government and obtain an ID certificate issued by the Ministry of Communication and Information (Orwellianly abbreviated as Kominfo) before anyone in the country is allowed to access its services. Unfortunately, the definition of an ESO is pretty much anyone that runs a website, service, or app that uses an internet connection. Registering with Kominfo requires ESOs to grant direct access to their systems so the government can ensure MR5 requirements are being met.

MR5 requires that ESOs take down any content that is “manifestly illegal” within 24 hours. If the ESO doesn’t comply, they can be fined or blocked countrywide. The problem is that Kominfo could decide that something like criticizing the government could be “manifestly illegal.” This means that any company that does register agrees to violate any Indonesian citizen’s freedom of speech (which, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is an inherent right that is affirmed, not given, by a government) when requested.

Major services like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Netflix, Spotify, TikTok, and Twitter have agreed to register. So presumably, the Indonesian government now has direct access to at least parts of their data.

The ban isn’t permanent, and Steam, Epic Games, and EA Origin can come back online in Indonesia if they decide to comply with MR5. We haven’t seen a statement from any of the banned companies, so it’s unknown whether they’re taking a principled stance against the Indonesian government or if they just forgot today was the cutoff date.

In other news, the Xbox Games with Gold for August have been revealed, and Waluigi Pinball is the highlight of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Wave 2.

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