The House of Representatives has postponed its plan to pass the cybersecurity and defense bill, leaving it to the new term of the national legislature, set to start next month. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Cybersecurity Bill Postponed Until House's Next Term

BY :MARKUS JUNIANTO SIHALOHO & NUR YASMIN

SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Jakarta. The House of Representatives has postponed its plan to pass the cybersecurity and defense bill, leaving it to the new term of the national legislature, set to start next month.

Deputy House Speaker Fahri Hamzah said the special committees for numerous bills were unable to complete their work on time, resulting in the cybersecurity and defense bill, elimination of sexual violence bill, and stamp duty bill standing over until the next term.

Members of the current legislature will end their five-year tenures on Monday.

"They cannot finish it all," Fahri said on Friday.

The House proposed the bill to respond to a potential cyberwar. House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo has repeatedly warned that the country should be aware of cyberthreats.

He said the cybersecurity bill was urgently needed, especially after the recent spread of fake news and negative propaganda, such as during the ongoing unrest in Papua and West Papua.

He noted a study by software giant Microsoft this year showing that cybercrime had cost Indonesia Rp 478 trillion ($33.7 billion) in economic losses. The National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN) reported 232 million cyber-attacks in 2018 alone.

"It cannot be approved, because it requires time for substantial discussion and other things," Bobby Adhityo Rizaldi, a member of the special committee dealing with the cybersecurity bill, said on Thursday.

However, Damar Juniarto, a cyber-expert of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), said on Wednesday that there had been no public involvement in the formulation of the cybersecurity and defense bill, which may threaten individual freedom.

"If it is hastily approved, it will violate the law formulation principle that requires the people's aspirations to be heard... If the BSSN is allowed to access our data, such as what we buy online, it will be very dangerous," Damar said.

The bill includes mitigation of cyberthreats through the screening of negative content on the internet. To detect that, the BSSN must monitor internet traffic, including social media. Damar said this mounted to mass surveillance.

"All devices connected to the internet could be cyberweapons. Does this mean the BSSN should be allowed to spy on all products?" he said, adding that that the bill was being unduly rushed.

"We just learned about this in August, so this bill could not be discussed along with the other problematic bills," Damar said.

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