Indonesia Botches Porn Blockade, Shuts Down Regular Sites

Aug 12, 2010 12:00 PM PST
INDONESIA – A move to block illegal porn sites during the holy month of Ramadan hit a snag yesterday when 30 non-porn sites were unintentionally shut down in the rush to block vulgar content.

A report in the Financial Times of London said when the country’s ministry ordered the 300 major ISPs to hit the stop button, regular sites including news portals went down as well.

Apparently Indonesian Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to shut down nearly 4 million sites.

“Yesterday we unintentionally shut down 30 websites with no relation whatsoever to pornography,” said Gatot Dewa Broto, the minister’s spokesman. “The speed of the operation was so huge, we hit the wrong ones.”

The botched porn blockade coincided with the start of Ramadan yesterday, when Indonesia’s 200 million Muslims hold their annual month-long fasting.

In addition to fasting and abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol during daylight, the religious are expected to abstain from immoral acts that include viewing porn.

Despite the technical glitch and angry complaints from the unintentionally cut sites, Broto said the operation shut down 80 percent of adult material. The effort is scheduled to continue after Ramadan ends in the second week of September.

According to Broto, the decision to shut down the sites was prompted in part by “the current hot issue of porn,” a reference to sex videos of a poster girl for Lux soap and a famous pop star recently posted on the web. The graphic videos reportedly gripped the nation for weeks. When asked if that was the “hot issue” he was referring to, Broto just laughed.

Indonesia has the world’s largest concentration of Muslims, but strip clubs and brothels are found in major cities. XXX films are sold on the black market and according to the report, porn sites are among the most visited drawing millions of viewers.

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