Govt Welcomes BlackBerry Porn Pledge

JAKARTA

The government has welcomed a promise by Canadian firm Research in Motion’s (RIM) to filter its BlackBerry web services for pornography, after threatening to revoke the smartphone maker’s licence.

RIM said on Monday it would start filtering web services in Indonesia after the government threatened to restrict or block the company’s domestic services in one of Asia’s fastest growing telecommunications markets.

RIM is the world’s fourth biggest smartphone platform, with global sales of 11.9 million units, according to research firm Gartner. It does not filter its web content in any of its other markets around the world.

“We’ve heard about RIM saying it will filter the internet…. That’s good news to us and we highly appreciate that,” Communications Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said on Tuesday.

RIM said in a statement that it had been in talks with its partners and the government and “continues to make it a top priority to implement satisfactory technical solutions as soon as possible.”

Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring gave the company two weeks to comply or risk being kicked out of the country.

“If in the next two weeks, RIM fails to comply with the order by January 21, we will revoke its permit,” Sembiring said on Monday.

RIM set up a service centre in Indonesia – which has 40 million internet users — in 2009 at the request of the government.
“Based on experience, we’re confident it would comply this time, too,” Broto said.

“Furthermore, their market is big here,” he added.

Analysts believe there are about two million BlackBerry users in Indonesia, out of an estimated 11.9 million units sold worldwide.

RIM representatives would meet officials on Monday to discuss how they intend to filter pornography from the highly encrypted smartphones.

The row is the latest in a series of controversies RIM has faced as governments including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and India have complained about difficulties monitoring BlackBerry communications.

Indonesia’s threats prompted a wave of angry protest on microblogging site Twitter as BlackBerry users voiced fears their phones would be blocked.

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