Indonesia is making history by banning foreign tech companies from installing spyware on the internet and restricting the use of social media tools.
The move comes as the country prepares to vote on whether to grant full citizenship to millions of foreigners who have lived and worked in the country for years.
Indonesia is also the first country to allow foreign companies to share their products and services with its citizens without permission, and it’s also the world’s most open country for online privacy.
But a few years ago, the country’s government began clamping down on foreign companies that use social media to spread their messages and ads, and to monitor users’ movements online.
After a series of court decisions and government requests, Indonesian authorities have agreed to implement the law.
Now, the state-run news agency Anadolu says it will stop sharing information about its users and will block users from sending and receiving data.
The government will also allow foreign tech giants to create fake identities to circumvent the countrys restrictions, the report says.
But the move won’t necessarily make the internet safe for everyone.
According to Anadalu, foreign tech firms will still be able to share data on users’ online activities and use it for marketing purposes, but the data won’t be subject to Indonesia’s data protection laws.
The ban is the latest step in a long-running debate over what kind of country Indonesia should be.
A year ago, Indonesian lawmakers rejected a petition to allow social media companies to create profiles for their users.
It was the country, after all, home to one of the worlds largest social media networks, Tencent.
The petition was based on a 2013 law, which allows foreign companies with offices in Indonesia to use Indonesian language to communicate.
Indonesia, however, has rejected many of the proposals, and the country is facing criticism over the surveillance of its citizens.
The debate also shows how the tech industry has an outsized influence in the political system.
Last year, a coalition of internet-focused activists and human rights groups released a report saying that the country has a massive surveillance apparatus and that foreign techs like Facebook and Google have a disproportionate influence on the country.
The report also said that Indonesian law enforcement has cracked down on dissent and political dissent by prosecuting bloggers, lawyers and activists.
In recent months, the government has also begun to enforce a series and increasingly harsh restrictions on internet use.
Last month, it temporarily blocked a popular social networking site called Facebook that it accused of promoting the Islamic State group.
The ban, however it’s unclear what prompted the move.
For now, Indonesian officials say the ban is necessary to stop foreigners from spreading extremist content online.
The state-controlled news agency says the move will make Indonesia more secure.
But the government says it won’t allow foreign firms to install spyware that could be used to spy on Indonesians.
Indonesia has already cracked down harshly on foreign spies.
Last week, for instance, police detained an Iranian-American citizen who was in the process of selling $50,000 worth of electronics to Indonesian buyers.
In January, the Indonesian government said it had arrested four suspected foreign spies, including an Iranian, for allegedly spying on the Indonesian intelligence agency.
Earlier this month, a group of activists launched a petition calling on the government to revoke the ban.
They argue that it violates international law and human right to freedom of expression.
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