The United States Department of State report entitled “2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” has claimed to have found human rights violations in Indonesia.
The accusations relate to the Indonesian government’s PeduliLindungi smartphone app, used to track COVID-19 cases. However, the US report alleges PeduliLindungi has the possibility of violating someone’s privacy considering that the application stores information about tens of millions of people in Indonesia.
The app requires individuals who enter public spaces, such as malls or train stations, to check in using the app. The app also stores information about an individual’s vaccination status.
“NGOs expressed concern about what information this application collects and how this data is stored and used by the government,” stated the report, as quoted by Bisnis.
NGOs also claim security officers sometimes carry out unwarranted surveillance of individuals and their residences and monitor phone calls.
The report from Washington argues that applicable law requires a warrant for a search except in cases involving subversion, economic crimes, and corruption. In fact, security forces generally respect this requirement.
“The law also provides for searches without a warrant when the circumstances are urgent,” wrote the report.
This report, moreover, reveals that the police in Indonesia sometimes take action without proper authority or violate individual privacy regarding the mandatory use of PeduliLindungi.
Spokesperson for the Health Ministry Siiti Nadia Tarmizi commented that these allegations are baseless.
“Allegations that this application is useless and also violates human rights are groundless. Let us carefully read the original report from the US State Department. The report does not accuse the use of this application of violating human rights. We ask that the parties stop twisting as if the report concluded that there was a violation,” said Tarmizi, as quoted in a press statement on Friday 15th April 2022.
PeduliLindungi contains clear application governance principles, including the obligation to comply with the provisions of personal data protection. The development of PeduliLindungi also refers to the global agreement in the WHO Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 Response in 2020, which is a reference for various countries on the practice of using data and technology for COVID-19 health protocols.
The system security aspect and the protection of personal data at PeduliLindungI are the priorities of the Health Ministry. All PeduliLindungi features operate within a data protection and security framework called Data Ownership and Stewardship.
Consent from users has become a layer in every data exchange transaction, in addition to metadata and the data itself. For example the check-in feature in public areas, confirms access to a device’s geolocation recording and deletion of usage history.
“These features are presented to respond to the increasingly dynamic needs of handling CCOVID-19,” she said.
The Health Ministry, added Tarmizi, has carried out strategic cooperation with various teams to ensure that the electronic system within PeduliLindungi is safe and feasible to use. Together with the National Cyber and Crypto Agency (BSSN), the Ministry has implemented a layered security system, namely security for applications, security for infrastructure including data centres, and security for encrypted data.
PeduliLindungi has gone through a series of assessments of technical and legal aspects in the context of registering as an electronic system operator at the Communication and Information Ministry and placing data at the National Data Centre of the Communication and Information Ministry.
“Thus, PeduliLindungi is an electronic system that is reliable, safe, and responsible,” she stressed.