A student in Jember University in East Java defends his thesis on the Zoom app early this month. (Antara Photo/Seno)

Indonesia's Anti-Terror Agency Ditches Zoom

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ

APRIL 28, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia's counter-terrorism agency has banned the use of Zoom, the popular online meeting app run by a San Francisco-based company, fearing data breaches that could jeopardize the agency's operations.

The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has told staff to uninstall the app and replace it with a similar app that features better encryption, BNPT Secretary Air Vice Marshal A. Adang Supriyadi said in a circular last week. 

"We want to prevent data or information leaks to hostile parties," Adang said in the circular. 

BNPT Chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius confirmed the content of the circular on Tuesday. "We are following the directions from the president," Suhardi said. 

BNPT's move came after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his cabinet also decided to ditch Zoom and use a locally-made meeting app called CloudX made by the country's largest mobile operator Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel). 

The Defense Ministry has also banned Zoom, citing "no guarantee of data security on the app."

The ministry that some of the traffic on Zoom are duplicated to servers located in other countries, which might lead to eavesdropping. 

Both BNPT and the Defense Ministry ordered their staff to uninstall Zoom immediately from all their devices to avoid data being stolen or scammed.

Zoom became a favorite for workers and students stuck at home in Indonesia after the country started imposing large-scale social restrictions, which included closing down offices and schools, to try to gain control of the pandemic.

Zoom has acknowledged securities issues on its platform, which was used by 300 million people around the world in April, a massive jump from just 10 million users in December.

To address the problems, Zoom started offering a $500,000 bounty for finding a security bug in the app early this month.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has also said the government would soon start taxing Zoom and other over-the-top online services in Indonesia, such as movie streaming service Netflix. 

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