Thu, 27 May 2004

Govt to set up team to cope with increasing cyber crime

Tony Hotland, Jakarta

The government plans to establish an "emergency response" team to deal with cases of cyber fraud, especially those involving credit cards.

Tulus Rahardjo, frequency supervision director at the Ministry of Communications, said preliminary discussions on the team were underway.

"The team will consist of members of our department, the Office of the State Minister for Communications and Information, APJII and the police," he said on Wednesday after opening the second working meeting of the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association (APJII).

"It is very crucial considering that in 2003, Indonesia topped the list of countries with the most cyber fraud cases," he said.

Data compiled by the APJII show that there were at least 210 Internet credit card fraud cases in 2003. The association recorded at least 21 cases during the first quarter of this year.

Experts have blamed law enforcers' lack of knowledge about electronic crimes and the absence of electronic crime laws for the increase in cyber crimes.

A draft bill on electronic information and transactions was sent to the State Secretary on April 8. It is awaiting the president's approval to be discussed by the House of Representatives.

If enacted, the law would regulate electronic and transaction systems for fund transfers, e-payments and electronic data interchange, as well as e-mail and credit card transactions.

Also on Wednesday, the APJII launched its Surabaya-based Indonesian Internet Exchange (IIX) JI, which is hoped will allow Internet service providers (ISPs) in East Java to charge less and provide faster connections to users. There are about 17 ISPs in East Java.

"With this system, ISPs in East Java will be connected to one another. They will pay up to 50 percent lower fees as a group compared to when they were connected to the IIX in Jakarta as individuals," said the association's secretary-general, Heru Nugroho.

The IIX JI is an extension of the Jakarta IIX. The APJII plans to build similar networks in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Medan, Makassar and Balikpapan.

Before the establishment of the IIX in 1997, Indonesian ISPs had to distribute data accessed by domestic users through foreign networks, which resulted in higher costs.

For example, an e-mail sent by a person in Jakarta to another person in Jakarta was first sent to Japan, then to the United States and Singapore, before finally being sent to its final destination.

The association says the IIX has helped ISPs save up to US$1.2 million per month. There are some 105 ISPs in the country.

There were about 865,706 Internet subscribers and eight million users last year. The figures are expected to increase to 1.3 million and 12 million respectively by the end of 2004.