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Indonesia Passes Long-Debated Data Protection Bill

 

The Indonesian parliament approved a new data protection law on Tuesday that has corporate fines and up to six years jail for people found to have mishandled data.

The bill authorises the president to form an oversight body to fine data handlers for breaching rules on distributing or gathering personal data

The biggest fine is 2% of a corporation’s annual revenue and could see their assets confiscated or auctioned off. The law includes a two-year “adjustment” period, but does not specify how violations would be addressed during that phase.

The passing of the law follows a series of data leaks and probes into alleged breaches at government firms and institutions in Indonesia, from a state insurer, telecoms company and public utility to a contact-tracing Covid app that revealed President Joko Widodo’s vaccine records.

The legislation stipulates individuals can be jailed for up to six years for falsifying personal data for personal gain or up to five years for gathering personal data illegally.

Users are entitled to compensation for data breaches and can withdraw consent to use their data.

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‘A New Era’

Communications minister, Johnny G Plate, said the bill’s passage “marks a new era in the management of personal data in Indonesia, especially on the digital front.”

Abdul Kharis Almasyhari, a member of the commission overseeing the law, said it would mean the state was ensuring protection of the personal data of its people.

The law has been in the works since 2016 and was held up by debate about financial penalties and control of the oversight body, lawmakers said. Authorities have said the law was based on the European Union legislation.

Satriyo Wibowo, a data protection expert who was consulted during its drafting, said it would force companies to improve their data protection.

However, Wahyudi Djafar, who researches data protection for the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, questioned whether the penalties were strict enough to force government bodies to improve their data handling.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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