Faisal Maliki Baskoro
Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, reacted cautiously on Saturday to the threat that its data services, including BlackBerry Messenger, may be shut down by the Indonesian government if it does not establish a data center here that will allow the government to eavesdrop on users.
“We were surprised by the government comments we saw in the media. The Dec. 8 meeting was very positive. We couldn’t imagine that the government would be so hurtful as to shut down our service. A lot of Indonesians use the BB to run their businesses as well as access their community,” RIM Managing Director for Asia Gregory Wade told the Jakarta Globe.
On Friday, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said it would likely shut down the popular service early next year because the company had not built a data center in Indonesia, as demanded by communications minister Tifatul Sembiring.
Indonesia had earlier demanded that the Canadian company open customer care centers in Indonesia and block access to pornographic content, requests with which RIM complied.
“We hope that we can work our way through this and everyone can get what they want,” Wade said, without elaborating.
In a statement, the company said, “RIM has been working closely with government bodies in Indonesia, but has not been advised of any specific requirements extending beyond what it has already satisfied.”
The statement added: “RIM is working with Law Enforcement Agencies in Indonesia for the provision of Lawful Access as stipulated by national law.” The company did not say what measures had been taken.
Should the BB messenger service disappear from Indonesia, it would be a major irritation for millions of users in one of the company’s biggest markets.
Nauval Yazid, a marketing director for a film company, said that as a user he would eventually find other alternatives but he would be disappointed if the service was banned.
“At the end of the day, as a user, we can only wait and hope that there will be an amicable decision. Otherwise we, grumbling and hugely disappointed with the government, will have to find another telecommunication service,” Nauval said. He added that users may band together through social media to demand that the government settle the issue.
“The issue we should raise is what’s next if they eventually shut down RIM services? What can they provide as an alternative?” he said.
“It’s an old issue. Don’t we have enough problems in this country?” said BlackBerry user Innosanto, a student.
“As a user, if BlackBerry services will not be available, I will just have ask my mom for an iPhone,” he said laughing.