YouTube Lets Indonesian Government Block Satirical Video That Criticizes The Indonesian Government

from the you're-not-helping dept

Recent protests in West Papua have made things uncomfortable for the Indonesian government. The protests were triggered by recordings of Indonesian military personnel taunting Papuans and calling them racial slurs. The Indonesian government responded to the protests by shutting down internet access and seeking to arrest a prominent West Papua civil rights lawyer for allegedly spreading “fake news.”

West Papua was formerly its own nation but it was handed over to the Indonesian government in 1969 following a “free choice” voting process that saw about 1,000 “delegates” chosen by the Indonesian military override the will of the country’s residents, making it officially a province under the Indonesian government’s control. That’s obviously not working out well for Papuans.

If you’re wondering how West Papua has arrived at this flash point, this hilarious/disturbing video produced by The Juice Media explains the whole thing. And it explains the Australian government’s complicity in the Indonesian government’s subjugation of the West Papuan people. (NSFW language throughout. Here’s an annotated script if you’d rather read about it.)

That explains where the nation is at now, and why its people want to be free of their Indonesian overlords. It also explains why no one nearby is riding to their rescue, since it’s clear the Australian government would rather maintain its ties with the regime presiding over West Papua than try to help clear a path to independence.

That also explains why The Juice Media was recently informed this video can no longer be viewed in Indonesia. It appears the government has filed a legal complaint targeting the video embedded above, resulting in it being blocked in Indonesia.

For whatever reason, The Juice Media is completely unable to challenge this decision by YouTube. A screenshot of the account’s dashboard doesn’t even show the complaint, nor does anything sent to the account by YouTube explain what law was broken or which government entity filed the complaint.

The problem with YouTube complying with local laws is that many local laws are written solely for the purpose of making censorship easier. Allowing the Indonesian government to target content it doesn’t like to keep its citizens from learning more about its abuses just ensures more abuses will occur. The cycle will continue until someone decides the spread of information is more important than staying in the good graces of authoritarians.

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Companies: the juice media, youtube

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Comments on “YouTube Lets Indonesian Government Block Satirical Video That Criticizes The Indonesian Government”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Slacking off there Australia

The dictators in Indonesia have whined to YT to get it blocked in their country, clearly Australia needs to do the same given how unflattering(to put it very mildly) it is towards the Australian government.

As for Youtube, well, nice of them to make their priorities crystal clear like this, really eliminates any question as to which they consider more important, human rights/lives or profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Slacking off there Australia

They are only blocking it in Indonesia.

The article says they’re blocking it when the viewer is in Indonesia, not when the Google server is (i.e., if accurate, the blocking itself may happen outside of Indonesia so as to only affect Indonesians). And they don’t say what the law is.

Does the law say it must be blocked to Indonesians? Or worldwide (as Canada tried to do)? Or when Google is serving it from Indonesia? Is there a law?

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Slacking off there Australia

Indonesia isn’t China, they still actually have to answer to their people at some point. The punishment for civil disobedience in this case most likely be far far tamer.

Either way though I can certainly still fault them for it. Even if it is "the cost of doing business there", having people who don’t think they should be helping governments censor and oppress people fault them for it is included in that cost.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Slacking off there Australia

"Indonesia isn’t China, they still actually have to answer to their people at some point."

Yes, and until then the law states that YouTube have to block the video, which they have done without affecting people in other countries. What’s your problem here?

We can agree that it would be better for Indonesia not to have the legal means to demand this, but while that is the law what is your problem with YouTube complying? Are you saying they should just do whatever they want with no care for the law, just so long . as it’s a law you don’t personally agree with?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Slacking off there Australia

"I just don’t believe following the law absolves you of responsibility"

So, you do think that following the law is optional. That’s fine, civil disobedience is a thing, but most companies do prefer to stay in business. I’m not sure what the legal penalty for disobeying this would be in Indonesia, but it wouldn’t be impossible to revoke whatever permission or ability they have to do business there.

"In my opinion our companies who are facilitating oppression, exploitation, etc"

Do you have the same reaction when YouTube block thousands of videos every day for copyright and other issues in the US, or does obeying a legal order only become optional when certain countries do the ordering?

I think I understand what you’re trying to say, but calling on companies to ignore any law they don’t want to follow isn’t exactly a good solution.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Slacking off there Australia

"They don’t have to obey local laws, it’s a choice"

Yes, and YouTube are making the choice to not be punished for breaking the law in Indonesia.

"Local laws in one place can very easily conflict with local laws in another place such that it isn’t even possible to obey both simultaneously"

Yes. But, what does that have to do with this case?

"Besides, "I’m only following orders" is a tired excuse."

So, you’re saying that complying with the law is like something that gets you in Nuremberg?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Slacking off there Australia

No, it really isn’t(twice over), it’s something they chose to do and as such it’s not difficult at all to condemn them for it.

Presented with a demand to block a video highlighting some truly atrocious behavior on the part of a government they had two options, block the video in order to assist the government in keeping their people ignorant in order to protect their profits or risk those profits by telling the government if they didn’t want people talking about terrible behavior on their part maybe they should stop behaving terribly.

They took the coward’s path, putting profits above human rights, and as such it’s hard not to fault them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Indonesians who still want to see it can stil use a proxy or VPN to circumveent that.

Contrary to what some people might that, using a VPN to do that does not break either US law, or Indonesian law, and don’t get me started on either the CFAA or DMCA.

For it to be a felony DMCA violation,it has to be for some kind of financial gain, and circxumventing geoblocking does not rise to that level.

And CFAA does not apply, becuase two things have to happen. First, you have to have used an illegally obtained password and you have to have deliberately caused some kind of damage to one of the computers on the network

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The law is clear on that. For it to be a felony, it has to be for commercial, or private financial gain, making you have to be doing it for the purpose of making money.

If that requriement were not in there, we would have so many criminals, where we would not have enough jails to hold them all. That is why certain laws are written the way they are.

That is why Klobuchar’s Commercial Felony Streaming Act was written that way, to only target those who stream to make money, otherwise the country would have gone bankrupt prosecuting those view streams, if that law has been passed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

For it to be a felony, it has to be for commercial, or private financial gain, making you have to be doing it for the purpose of making money.

Which is why I mentioned jurisdiction, relevance, applicability, or innocence. If you’re using the DMCA as a bludgeon, as has been done so in various examples listed on Techdirt, none of what I mentioned actually matters. Yes, if you want to arrest someone and actually charge them for felony-level DMCA, your considerations do matter. If all you want to do is waste someone’s time and money and get a video taken down by YouTube’s bootlickers for any amount of time, preferably as long as possible? None of the above matters.

If that requriement were not in there, we would have so many criminals, where we would not have enough jails to hold them all.

Well, yes? The fact that this is a very inconvenient point isn’t what’s stopping DMCA abusers, though…

otherwise the country would have gone bankrupt prosecuting those view streams

It’s this bit. The RIAA’s business model, and the fact that copyright trolls are still trying to make it work in countries like Sweden, is proof that DMCA abuse is lucrative and generally consequence-free. Judges letting the RIAA/MPAA get away with "Of course we HAD to have that video taken down, how could we be expected to consider fair use!" as an excuse helps them out too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The issue is that some people think that some things I do violate the cfaa or DMCA when they do not.

One example is when I go on road trips to Mexico and I plug into the VPN on my home computer, to, say, get past geoblocking, so I can listen to SiriusXM, on my phone, when I am down there.

Since I am already paying for the service, I cannot be charged with a felony under the dmca since I am not doing it to make money.

And when I was an online sportscaster on my own online radio station and traveled the world, they.would have never been able to prove it.

I ran my station out of Australia and it was station policy to securely wipe all station equipment before entering Canada or the usa.

And before you say anything about sarbanes oxley, the tool we used could a hard disk well enough where computer forensics would never be able to prove anything once the OS and all programs were reinstalled.

Ever since sarbanes oxley, makets of such programs have made the use of their products all but impossible to detect. And what we used made it all but impossible to detect that we used it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No arguments to any of your scenarios, honestly.

But again, DMCA advocates and enforcers are rarely ever concerned on whether their claims can be proven, superficially or conclusively.

All you need is a RIAA fan with a hard-on for harassment, or a copyright troll who thinks you’re an easy mark, and is foolhardy/dumb/brash enough to waste your time and money.

Using VPNs to get past geoblocking is an interesting case. It’s annoying as fuck for paying customers. Depending on where you are, governments have offered different opinions as to whether they’re kosher (Australia, for one, is at least okay with its citizens using VPNs to access US content via their paid Netflix subscriptions).

Copyright fans have been less forthcoming with what they feel, similar to their opinion on backup copies and storage media. Their response has essentially been: "Well yes, you CAN technically do that because you paid for it, but if we say this is okay we might unleash a new golden age of piracy and/or we won’t be able to justify charging you more/again, so we’d really prefer it if you didn’t do it!"

Yes, what you do is legal. All it takes to fuck that up though is a copyright nutcase with something to prove or an insecurity to mask.

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