Indonesia Limits Telegram Messaging Service, Threatens To Ban App Over Security Concerns
17 July, 2017, 16:00
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - The encrypted messaging app Telegram is forming a team of moderators who are familiar with Indonesian culture and language so it can remove "terrorist-related content" faster, its co-founder said Sunday, after Indonesia limited access to the app and threatened a total ban.
In his Telegram channel, Durov made an official statement saying he regrets failing to provide a quick response to the Indonesian Communication and Information Technoligy Ministry's request to regulate contents of terrorism in the app's public channels.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian told reporters on Sunday that Telegram is a favored application for terrorists and terror sympathizers, due largely to the app's heavily encrypted system that can accommodate up to 10,000 members in individual channels, making it hard for authorities to detect any terrorism-related messaging.
"If there is no improvement we will really consider closing the platform, we are sorry if we have to because we want to maintain relations so the social media technology can be properly utilised", the minister said, as reported by Detik.
"The KDN's (Home Ministry's) observation, especially by the Anti-Terrorism Unit and the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), find that the application (Telegram) has so far not been used in matters related to crime or for recruiting or raising funds for terrorism activities", Zahid said.
Ahmad Zahid was asked to comment on the Indonesian government's action on Friday (July 14) to block the Telegram application following revelation that it was used to spread Daesh's ideology for violent activities.
Telegram has stated that all its chats are private territory and that it does not process any requests related to them.
Telegram is a free Russian-designed messaging app that lets people exchange messages, photos and videos in groups of up to 5,000.
The ministry warned that it would block Telegram if the company behind it did not filter what it called "illegal content".
Its strong encryption has contributed to its popularity with those concerned about privacy and secure communications in the digital era but also attracted armed groups and other criminal elements.
"We're constantly striving to be more efficient at preventing terrorist propaganda, and are always open to ideas on how to get better at this", he said, adding he is confident that both Indonesia and Telegram can efficiently eradicate terrorist propaganda without disrupting millions of Telegram users in the country.
Indonesia said it will block the app if it continues to be a platform for radical propaganda and violent militants.
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