Problems on Right to Privacy in Indonesia: From the Native-Faiths to LGBTQ community

ELSAM, Jakarta –  Indonesia currently deals with global threat along with the development of infomation and telecommunication technology which can collect millions of data in real time. Recent technology enables the collected data to be freely tracked, identified and accessed; few are even able to intrude personal telecommunication devices to obtain data. Such development, at certain point, is so concerning for it potentially breaks the communication limitation which previously is possible due to the principles of privacy right protection. As an information, Article 17 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights forbids any parties – even State – to intervene with their citizens’ privacy.

In response to this situation, Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) supported by Privacy International presented UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Privacy, Joseph Cannataci, in the CSOs Dialogue with UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Privacy on 28 April 2017 in Jakarta. The dialogue invited a number of human rights activists from various CSOs, including LGBTQI and minority religious groups.

In his opening speech, Cannataci emphasized that right to privacy comes from the assumption that every person has the right to develop themselves.

“There is a connection between privacy and self-development so that minority groups such as LGBTQI should be involved in this issue,” he said.

Unfortunately, he added, in few countries especially the Southern, it is difficult to discuss these minority group because the context is impossible. In several countries, the openness about sexual orientation even can lead to violence, torture and murder to this group.

Such situation was confirmed by Yuli Rustinawati from Arus Pelangi who shared the experiences as an LGBTQI group which is marginalised in the context of decision making in Indonesia.

“LGBTQI is even considered as a threat to nation by military,” Yuli added.

Juwanto, Satunama activist, also revealed the similar problem dealt by native-faiths groups in Indonesia.

“In Indonesia, there are 12 millions of people with native faiths and around 250 local faith institutions which are not acknowledged by Population Administration Law. Those people are not filling out their religion in their Ids (because their religion are not included in the six religions acknowledged by government). Thus, they find it hard to get access to other rights, such as education and health,” Juwanto explained.

Joseph Cannataci affirmed that there needs to have an understanding about space, time and context which happen in the society to determine how far privacy rights can be protected and be restricted. This is merely important particularly to determine our view on dignity and reputation concept emerging in privacy issues.

“Then how to balance between having the transparent and accountable government, and the needs to protect citizens’ privacy rights?” asked Wahyudi Djafar, ELSAM’s deputy director.

“We need to go against the idea that big data is the solution for all matters. Indonesia does not only need a good and strong data protection law, but also a solid one to ensure the supervision on the institutions intruding personal data,” Cannataci answered.

We need to understand that currently there are five issues which become UN’s priority related to right to privacy, namely, good knowledge on privacy, security and surveillance, health data, data disclosure, and data owned by corporation. []