Personal data protection bill faces further delay despite progress in Indonesia

Indonesia has yet to join the club of nations from Brazil to China and India that have issued stringent regulations on personal data protection, modeled on the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which protects citizens from privacy and data breaches regardless of where the data is processed and which recognizes citizens’ “right to be forgotten”, so users can ask for data erasure and delisting from digital platforms and search engines. - Jakarta Post/ANN

JAKARTA, June 27 (Jakarta Post/ANN): Deliberations on the highly anticipated Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill in Indonesia are now expected to carry over into the next House of Representatives sitting period, several lawmakers have confirmed, even as the commission in charge pushed through a week-long rally of secret meetings to get the legislation passed by the next plenary.

The House Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs, informatics and intelligence is currently fast-tracking the PDP bill after lawmakers and the government agreed on a sticking point that had been stalling progress since 2014.

Now both sides have come to a compromise regarding the establishment of a data protection oversight agency, which would be set up to answer to the president while offering legislators leeway in determining its scope of authority.

House Commission I lawmaker Rizki Natakusumah from the Democratic Party told The Jakarta Post that a presidential regulation would be used to establish the agency, but that the House would ensure that it remained objective in the implementation of the PDP bill, whether it involved government agencies or private institutions.

"We have agreed that the agency should act objectively and report directly to the president," he said.

Previously, the two sides were at odds regarding the agency’s independence; the government wanted the entity to be placed under the Communications and Information Ministry, whereas lawmakers wanted it to be independent to prevent any conflicting interests.

With the real bone of contention out of the way, lawmakers have been speeding up deliberations of the bill, which many expect would provide clear guidelines for law enforcers to punish the illegal use of personal data.

As with several other pieces of legislation, lawmakers have opted to deliberate on the bill away from the public eye, sharing little in the way of updates and leaving digital rights activists and journalists guessing about the outcome.

Since it was first drafted and proposed by the government in 2014, the bill has been slow to start and was even delayed several times.

But Rizki said the House Democratic faction hoped work surrounding the legislation would be finished before lawmakers go into recess later this week, with public pressure mounting against the backdrop of rampant data breaches.

“We will optimize the bill’s completion in this sitting period because the urgency is clear,” he said.

However, Commission I lawmaker Christina Aryani from the House Golkar Party faction insisted that the bill would likely be passed in the next sitting period, especially considering that the commission is still to meet with its government counterparts in the coming weeks to discuss the few remaining points on the inventory of issues (DIM).

“The meeting [with the government] is scheduled for July 4-5, so it is definitely not over yet. [The bill] might be carried over into the next sitting,” she said on Thursday.

The next House plenary meeting on Thursday officially ends the current legislative sitting period, with lawmakers set to return after the Idul Adha (Day of Sacrifice) holiday.

Amid the absence of a comprehensive legal framework to protect private data, the country has continued to suffer a string of cyberattacks, which has been exacerbated by a health crisis that has increased people’s reliance on digital technologies.

Among the worst of such incidents were the National Health Insurance (JKN) breach, the electronic Health Alert Card leak and the defacing of the National Cyber and Encryption Agency’s (BSSN) website – all of which occurred last year.

Much of the PDP bill took inspiration from the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which is considered among the most progressive examples of digital best practices passed into law. - Jakarta Post/ANN

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Indonesia , Data , Protection Bill , Pushing , Lawmakers


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