Friski Riana, Jakarta – Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) executive director Damar Juniarto argues that the existence of a cyber policing unit by the National Police (Polri) dubbed the 'virtual police' is a form of 24-hour surveillance by the state.
"The virtual police is none other than a form of 24-hour surveillance by the country to its citizens. Because the state is in the middle of our conversations to monitor us," said Damar in the online discussion on digital activism, cyber police, and democratic setback on Thursday, March 4.
The Indonesian National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo previously announced the launch of virtual police in an official Circular (SE) on the ethical awareness to realize a clean, healthy, and productive digital space in Indonesia.
The circular claims that the virtual police is mainly focused on prevention that puts forth monitoring, educating, warning, and preventing people from committing potential cyber crime.
The SAFEnet director believes this is police's attempt to create a 'digital panopticon' where the authorities would immediately correct a person who – in their lawful eyes – is potentially committing a digital crime.
Damar believes the existence of virtual police opens the age of digital authoritarianism which include online censorship, cyber surveillance, and attempts to control an infrastructure which may potentially lead to technological oppression.