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This op-ed was published in The Jakarta Post, 22 June 2018. Read HERE
Data Protection: Indonesia can learn from EU
By Vincent Guérend
EU Ambassador to Indonesia
The recent Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal has made us realize again how important strong data protection rules are for our society, including the very functioning of the democratic process. Such developments show that the protection of privacy is crucial as a core individual right and democratic imperative—and as an economic necessity. Without citizen trust in the way their data is handled, our democracies are endangered and our data-driven economies will not thrive.
You have probably received many e-mails in the last few weeks seeking your consent to be kept in mailing lists from publications, hotels, airlines, banks, etc. This is the result of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force on 25 May. The GDPR seeks to create a virtuous circle of better protection of privacy as a fundamental right, enhanced consumer confidence in how the privacy and security of their data is guaranteed, particularly online, and economic growth.
The right to privacy and to personal data protection is not a luxury for rich countries; it is a universal, fundamental right that is a condition for sustainable social, political and economic development in our connected economies. The effective protection of personal data goes hand in hand with unleashing the full potential of the digital economy.
Today more than 120 countries have data privacy laws in place. Many of the new or modernised laws tend to be based on common elements: comprehensive legislation (rather than sectorial rules), a set of enforceable rights, the setting up of an independent supervisory authority, etc. This developing convergence improves the level of protection of personal data when transferred abroad and offers new opportunities to facilitate trade as well as cooperation between public authorities, both of which increasingly rely on the exchange of personal data.
The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (ICT) is currently in the process of drafting a new Law on Personal Data Protection and revising a Ministerial Decree on Content Protection. We are glad that the Indonesian authorities are highly interested in learning from the European regulation, understanding its impact for Indonesian businesses and possibly using it as source of inspiration for their own legislative process. European and Indonesian experts are in close touch to exchange experiences and best practices. Our cooperation offers new opportunities to further develop elements of convergence between our data protection regimes with the highest standards in mind.
Having convergent data protection regulations would help data flow more freely and securely between the EU and Indonesia, creating a better business environment and boosting trade and investment.
Let me finish with this quote from Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality: “Data protection is not a luxury but a necessity, not only for the functioning of our democracies but also for the protection of our citizen and the success of our data-driven economies".