Increasing Intrusion of Private Data Demands Protection Policy

ELSAM, Jakarta – Intrusion on private data has increasingly been troubling. Recently, there was a commotion in the social media, due to reports from Go-Jek service users, whose cell phone number were misused by Go-Jek motorists. This incident is part of a series of various acts of violation to the protection of privacy committed by both private and public institutions. The modern society is now surrounded by a wide range of services that require users to submit private data without being accompanied by adequate protection mechanisms.

This encouraged SafeNet and EngageMedia to hold a roundtable discussion titled “Measuring Netizen Concern on Private Security” held on 28 September 2015 in Jakarta. The focused discussion presented a number of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) activists of the civil society, including the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM). This discussion aimed to outline the challenges faced by the civil society in advocating the protection of private data to the public, and determine the appropriate consolidation model to encourage prevention against intrusion of privacy.

One of the challenges faced, according to Damar Juniarto of SafeNet, is that the issue of privacy is difficult to draw public attention because people are not aware of privacy of their data.

“Even though people know that their private data is used, they have not seen it as something dangerous,” he said.

Lita, an activist on privacy issues for LGBT groups from EngageMedia, said that in addition to the lack of awareness in society, consolidation at the level of civil society is also dilemmatic.

“The civil society do not put the issue of privacy as a major issue in their advocacy efforts because each has its own agenda. Herein lies the difficulty, where to find the connection between the issue of privacy and other issues so that it can be a common issue,” she said.

Meanwhile, according to Fadhli of ELSAM, to raise awareness at the community level, consolidation of the experience of netizen suffering from abuse is needed.

“Even though people know that the problem exists, but the problem is not seen as something to worry about. Therefore, there needs to be a special effort to collect these experiences in order to create a body of systematic and massive experience,” he said.

The effort to encourage the formation of the Private Data Protection Law is also one of the topics in the discussion, given the bill has been included in the national legislation priority for 2016.

“What should be emphasized is that the model of privacy regulationmust consider very specific categories of proivacy, and there should be adequate recovery mechanisms for the individual whose privacy is violated. In addition, there is consideration on the necessity of forming an independent body in charge of privacy dispute resolution,” added Fadhli.

The discussion concluded that public awareness campaigns related to privacy issues should be targeted to establish public awareness of the importance of privacy. The “necessity” model of public communication is vital to emphasize the importance of protecting privacy. In addition, the consolidation of civil society must be done so that the privacy issue can be a common issue.

Editor: Ari Yurino