Indonesia Proposes Law To Review & Tax Every Internet Application

from the that's-not-how-innovation-works dept

As has been discussed multiple times, one of the reasons why the internet has thrived (or even why the software industry has thrived) is that the barriers to entry are low. You don't need to build a factory or get all kinds of approvals. You can just create something and go. But, perhaps not in Indonesia any more. Glyn Moody points us to a report on a proposed law in Indonesia that would first seek to tax all technology/software firms above and beyond existing taxes and (even more worrying) require anyone creating an application to get permission from the government before any application can be released. Apparently, this will apply to any application "which uses the internet to transmit voice, images, data, content based services, e-commerce, as well as other services provided through applications." Yeah, pretty broad.

Developers in Indonesia are reasonably up in arms over this, claiming that it will devastate the industry if they have to get government permission for every app or web service they put up. The government's defense of the law in the face of such criticism is hardly convincing:
Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto defended the proposed law in public statements, claiming it is there to ensure the laws aren't going to be left behind once the industry takes off.
Well, yes, I guess if you put in place laws that pretty much guarantee that the industry will never take off, then, the laws won't get left behind. But that hardly seems like a practical solution.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    Typo alert.

    You forgot the /sarcasm at the end of this post.

    Because... this post is really a joke, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Typo alert.

    I agree, April 1st was awhile ago--the Indonesians must do it on some other day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    *My head hurts*

    I... really? How in the world do they expect to make any money if they destroy their own internet infrastructure?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 9:41pm

    "Apparently, this will apply to any application "which uses the internet to transmit voice, images, data, content based services, e-commerce, as well as other services provided through applications." Yeah, pretty broad. "

    and redundant...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 10:10pm

    Good Trial Baloon!

    What they really need is a tax to review blog accuracy, completeness, and grammar. Such a tax should cost around $100M yearly, and have a limited number of complementary licenses given away by the elected administration. Satirical outfits like Fox News and Sarah PAC would be exempt of the license requirement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 11:22pm

    Based on my knowledge of SimCity 2000, this is a bad idea. You're supposed to lower taxes on high-tech industries; they're environmentally cleaner and more profitable than low-tech industry, so you want to attract as much of that type of business as you can.

    I guess nobody involved with any government plays SimCity. Otherwise, whenever there was a shortage of fresh water, they'd just build a desalinization plant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 11:31pm

    Re:

    If they're in government, it's likely that they can barely turn on a computer without help.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Christopher (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 11:41pm

    Re: Re:

    Ah Ah Ah..... I know quite a few people in government who are VERY intelligent. It's only when you get past the LOCAL (town) government level that you start to see increasing numbers of the braindead walking show up in government.

    Even then, it is a wide brush that doesn't fit everyone that you are using there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 2:13am

    Field experience

    Clearly a way for the Indonesian government to protect its agricultural industry...(soon to be) unemployed programmers can now get some field experience.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:19am

    title shuld read

    Indonesia will goto sleep technologically with new law

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:20am

    haha

    so now you dont develop in indonesia and do it elsewhere and let people download via encryption

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:41am

    The Right to Read

    For some reason, this reminds me of the classic short story:

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    abc gum, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:01am

    Does this mean companies in Indonesia will be outsourcing their software needs ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:14am

    Great... one more country heading towards global welfare. When their own tech industry fails, the world (mostly US) will bail them out too...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Sean T Henry (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:57am

    Easy solution

    One company should create a program that is used as a pass through for "to transmit voice, images, data, content based services, e-commerce, as well as other services provided through applications."

    Get that application and have all other programs send there data to and through that, leaving the part of the program that the law applies to out of the program.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Pixelation, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Brilliant idea

    Now they will have so much work for reviewers the entire country will be employed. They may even need to start outsourcing to india...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I always heard that the higher up you go in the hierarchy of a company, the dumber people get. Also works for government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Easiest way to not break a law is to not need the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Markku Pesonen, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:23am

    Aren't their ISP's already charging for traffic?

    Telematics is a very broad term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telematics

    Seems pretty awkward to charge/tax for something which, usually, already is payed for, namely traffic. And what will the approval of software entail? Does it mean that the software code has to be inspected and checked to assure that it follows some standard? And what about existing bugs and other kinds of malicious code? Will all that become a task for a governmental department?

    I don't see the point here unless some other explanation emerges for what is scaring the pants of the Indonesian government.

    I don't think they will get much money out of it since the industry and investors will probably go elsewhere. Then how will this mainly jurisdictional apparatus benefit the taxpayers?

    I don't get the point unless there's something like halal coding or is inspired by ACTA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:41pm

    More Basket Case

    Indonesia is already a basket case economically, due to widespread criminality, including corruption by officials. The last thing they need is yet more laws which will allow yet more corruption. They need a lot more effort put to cleaning up the existing mess, not making the mess bigger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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