RIM agrees to filter internet content in Indonesia

Research In Motion (RIM) confirmed today that it will add internet content filtering to its services in Indonesia, following a threat by the Indonesian government last week.

Minister of Information, Tifatul Sembiring, gave the Canadian BlackBerry manufacturer a final warning last Friday that it must block websites containing pornography or have its entire internet service blocked.

The move follows a recent country-wide clamp-down on pornographic websites, which began last year. Sembiring sent out warnings to the internet service providers in Indonesia in 2010, ordering them to block the offensive content.

Indonesia also wants RIM to set up a server in the country which the government can access, a demand similarly levelled at RIM, Google and Skype in India. The Indonesian government said that the access to the server would be used for situations like corruption charges, but its use will likely extend beyond that to a multitude of criminal cases.

RIM and the Indonesian government will meet on January 17 to discuss the problem, said Gatot Dewobroto, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information. RIM issued a statement saying that it will implement the required changes “as soon as possible”, while also commenting that this is the first time the company has introduced internet content filtering.

With as many as two million BlackBerry users in Indonesia, according to analyst figures, RIM had little choice but to comply or lose additional customer base.

RIM has been in hot water with India for a number of months, finally agreeing to comply with the government’s encryption access requirements. It has also asked for another two years to address remaining security concerns, but it may find other countries issuing similar demands in the mean time.