Indonesia opens temporary access to PayPal after blocking sparks backlash

Indonesia opens temporary access to PayPal after blocking sparks backlash

Indonesia temporarily opened access to online payment firm PayPal (PYPL.O) to allow users to access their money, a senior official said on Sunday, after the country's blocking of some online services and games sparked an outcry.

On Saturday, the Indonesian communication ministry blocked PayPal, Yahoo search engine website, and several gaming services due to failure to meet a deadline under licensing rules.

Registration is required under rules released in late November 2020. It will give authorities broad powers to compel platforms to disclose data of specific users and take down content deemed unlawful or that "disturbs public order". read more

Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, a senior official at Indonesia's Communications Ministry, told an online briefing on Sunday the government is opening access to PayPal for five working days.

"Hopefully, that is enough time for users to migrate, get their money and find other services," he said, adding that there had been no communication yet from PayPal.

On Saturday, thousands of comments criticising the government's blockade of unregistered digital services flooded an Instagram post by the Communication Ministry.

Many messages said the government's move hurt Indonesia's online gaming industry and the freelance workers who use PayPal.

Samuel said that authorities would unblock the websites if they complied with registration rules, defending the measure as protection for Indonesian internet users and the digital ecosystem.

He added that operators of other affected gaming services, including Steam, Dota and Counter-Strike, have been in communication with the government.

PayPal and video gaming company Valve Corporation did not immediately respond to Reuters' emails seeking comment.