The Indonesian government has lifted its threat to ban the encrypted messaging app Telegram saying it has taken steps to block “negative” content that includes forums for ISIL supporters.
Rudiantara, the minister of communications and information technology, met Tuesday with Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov, announcing that “we have agreed to keep Telegram accessible”.
Earlier in July, the ministry said it was preparing to shut down Telegram in Indonesia, where it has several million users, if it did not develop procedures to block unlawful content including group discussions supportive of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
At a joint news conference with the minister, Durov apologised for failing to quickly respond to the Indonesian government’s request, blaming a miscommunication.
He said that there would be a line of direct communication between the ministry and top people in Telegram as that would allow it to shut down public channels “more efficiently within several hours”.
“We have discussed ways to block publicly available propaganda of terrorism on Telegram, which is something we have committed to do globally, and particularly in Indonesia,” Durov said.
The Indonesian government had not made any requests that would require Telegram’s encryption to be compromised, he said, adding: “The basis of Telegram is a 100 percent promise of encryption. This is why our company exists.”
Critics of the government’s threat said it would make more sense to monitor the ISIL discussion groups for possible intelligence than banning the app.