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Re: No Privacy Right in Indonesia ? (fwd)
I spent several minutes resisting a followup, but if people are going to
discuss, I have to cave...
> At 05:54 PM 11/17/95 -0500, "James M. Cobb" <[email protected]> wrote:
> > Activists in Indonesia who use the Internet say it is a power-
> > ful tool for distributing information in a society where self-
> > censorship abounds, newspapers are tightly controlled, jour-
> > nalists are jailed and unlicensed magazines banned.
> The primary difference between Indonesian and Singaporean censorship
> is that the Singaporeans are a lot more urbane about it, and generally
> don't have crowds of protestors to shoot at. Reporting on the East Timor
> activity is an especially good way to get kicked out of the country;
> I know people it's happened to. Uncensorable communications can be
> a substantial help, though rubber-hose cryptanalysis is still fairly
> effective, and it's the type of place that would use it.
> A certain amount of US activism on the East Timor problems is Internet-based;
> I don't know how connected it is to Indonesia or East Timor, which is
> too underdeveloped to be very active on the net, and has the added problem
> that activists are heavily watched.
I'll try to keep this as short as possible...
Almost anything on the Internet about East Timor is just crap. Get that out
of the way first. I've put the entire Portugal domain in my kill file. It's
like reading the lowest grade of anti-abortion rant from an AOLer.
The issue under all the others is "what happens when Suharto dies".
Lots of people, both in and out of power, are biding their time until
Suharto leaves power.
My hunch is that practically nobody in Indonesia has a PC at home like
most US Internet users do. They're getting access through a company or
university, or through a government office. A distributed network can
resist censorship--but Indonesia isn't very distributed yet, and almost
everyone is dependent on some sort of institutional access. Most people
in Indonesia--including a lot of middle-class people--don't have a phone.
You run down the street to a government Telkom office or a private
Wartel office to make a phone call. Putting Web terminals in Wartels--
now *that would be a concept.
If you dig into the UUCP maps for Java, you'll see a surprising number
of sites listed in all sorts of little places. How many of those are
up and operating, I have no idea. You are routinely warned that people
at those sites are generally charged for receiving foreign e-mail, and
that that can be expensive for them at current exchange rates.
Private Internet providers (RadNet, IDOLA, IndoNet) have popped up
only in the last year or so. I have links to some from my home page
As for the rubber hose...Indonesia is a fairly inscrutable country to
try to figure out. They are quite capable of simply killing people if
necessary; at other times, the wheels of justice turn agonizingly slow,
and people are left free for the moment not knowing what might end up
happening (a la Phil Zimmerman). My at-a-distance impression is that
you see more of the Alabama-Sheriff's-Deputy kind of oppression than
the Nazi-jackboot kind. Either way, it's millions of light years from
the Libertarian Home World.
Technology is a hot issue in Indonesia, partly because one of Suharto's
favorite ministers, Mr. Habibie, is kind of a techno-nut, and has been
pushing a variety of medium- and high-tech projects for Indonesia. Some
people feel that he's being allowed to do whatever he wants, regardless
as to whether his projects make any economic sense or not. After Suharto
is gone, it will be interesting to see how high-tech stuff fares. In
short, will Habibie end up giving it a bad name? Or will the technological
middle class come to power and do it right the second time around?
I'm going to stop rambling, and add something of more crypto-relevance.
I've got an old article of mine about remailers in my web pages.
(http://www.skypoint.com/members/gimonca/anonmail.html) I've talked it
up in soc.culture.indonesia and soc.culture.malaysia. Later, sameer
asked me to put a link to c2.org in there. Now, I'm getting a low but
respectable number of hits on that page (30-40 per day)...so it's not
out of the question that some of those Indonesian users might be
finding their way to sameer's site for a badly-needed nym.