Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – The Communications and Information Ministry has urged the public not to accuse the government of being behind a recent string of digital attacks against vocal critics, adding that the perpetrators may intend to pit the government against the public.
The ministry's informatics applications director general, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, said there was no evidence of the government being behind the attacks and urged the public to work together with the government to solve the hacking instead.
"We also want to stop [the hacking]," Semuel said during a discussion held by tempo.co."Don't be too quick and premature in accusing someone of being behind it without any evidence, this could be a third party who wants to create a confrontation [between the government and the public]. Who can prove that without any data?"
The concern was raised amid recent hacks directed at individuals or groups considered to be critical of the government, including tempo.co that had its website defaced and Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, whose Twitter account was hacked.
In the discussion, Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) regional coordinator Damar Juniarto noted that six targeted digital attacks had occurred in August, namely the website defacing on Tempo, the Twitter hack on Pandu and four other attacks.
He went on to say that the August attacks were directed at figures critical of the government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. He added that similar attacks, usually done against activists or academics, had occurred in the past against people voicing criticism on Papuan issues and the controversial 2019 revision of the Corruption Eradication Commission Law.