Encrypted Chat App Telegram to Remove Terrorist Content Following Ban Threat in Indonesia

Telegram is to form a team of moderators to remove terrorist-related content from the encrypted messaging platform in Indonesia, after the country's government threatened to ban the app.

Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has already blocked access to the web version of the chat platform, citing concerns that it was being used to spread "radical and terrorist propaganda" in the country, according to Reuters.

"This has to be done because there are many channels on this service that are full of radical and terrorist propaganda, hatred, ways to make bombs, how to carry out attacks, disturbing images, which are all in conflict with Indonesian law," the communications ministry said in a statement on its website.
Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov said on Sunday that the service had blocked channels reported by the government and that it would take further action to remove the illegal content.
"We are forming a dedicated team of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian culture and language to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more quickly and accurately," Durov said in a Telegram post quoted by Associated Press.
Telegram has been criticized by governments before for its use by terrorist groups to spread propaganda and recruit members. Last month Telegram agreed to provide basic information about the company to Russia after authorities threatened to block access to the service.

Despite pressure from governments, Telegram's founders have refused to bow to demands for backdoors into the platform for authorities to access encrypted messages, arguing that security and privacy are central tenets of the service.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Durov said Telegram is "heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists – in fact, every month we block thousands of ISIS-related public channels".

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iPhone 7 Pre-Orders in Indonesia Begin March 24 Following Apple R&D Investment

Indonesian carrier Smartfren has announced it will begin accepting iPhone 7 pre-orders on Friday, March 24. Pricing has not been disclosed, but customers can sign up on Smartfren's website to receive more information. In-store sales at select authorized resellers will begin on Friday, March 31.


While the iPhone 7 has been available in many other countries since September, the Indonesian government recently enacted a policy that requires 4G-capable smartphones to have at least 30 percent "local content," which can be hardware, software, or in this case, a commitment to invest in the country.

Apple satisfied the requirements of that policy when it committed around $44 million towards research and development in Indonesia over three years, which will include building an iOS App Development Center in the country. Apple received a "local content certification," allowing it to sell iPhones throughout Indonesia.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were the last smartphones that Apple officially sold in Indonesia, according to local website Coconuts Jakarta.

Indonesia, an island country bordering Malaysia in southeast Asia, has an estimated population of over 260 million people.

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Apple Allowed to Sell iPhone 7 in Indonesia After $44 Million R&D Investment Pledge

A $44 million investment pledge in an Indonesian R&D center has paved the way for Apple to be able to sell the iPhone 7 in the country, according to one of the country's senior government officials.

A director-general overseeing electronics told Reuters that as a result of the three-year investment commitment, Apple had received a "local content certification" last month which would allow it to sell iPhones throughout Indonesia.

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Jakarta, Indonesia
"Apple has committed around $44 million to invest in R&D over three years," I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan said in a text message. "Therefore, they can distribute devices priced 6 million rupiah ($448) and above. That means all iPhones can be distributed."
Starting from 2017, Indonesia will introduce a telecommunications policy which stipulates that all 4G handsets sold in the country must have "local content" of at least 30 percent, whether that be in terms of hardware, software or an investment commitment.

Asked by Reuters to comment on the investment figure, Apple merely pointed to an announcement last year that it had committed to building an iOS App Development Center in the country.

Such an R&D investment apparently fulfills the government's "local content" requirement and will help Apple make significant inroads in the Indonesian market, which is home to 250 million people and a young, tech-savvy demographic that Apple has yet to crack. In 2011, Apple was forced to shut down its online store in Indonesia because of shipping issues, and had to re-apply for permission to launch it again as part of its application to open its first retail store in the country.

According to research firm IDC, Samsung commanded a 26 percent share of Indonesia's smartphone market by sales volume in the second quarter of 2016, trailing Oppo with 19 percent. Both own factories in the country.

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Apple’s Next R&D Center Said to Be Opening in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2017

Apple will continue to expand the reach of its research and development centers around the world with a new location in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, sometime in 2017. The news comes from Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara, who mentioned that the project's preparation has now progressed to "the final stage" (via Tempo).

Additionally, the Minister added that Apple plans to find the location for the R&D center by the end of 2016, putting the company on the path of completing construction and hiring employees by the end of 2017. "Several options" for the focus of the Jakarta-based R&D center have been proposed, but none are yet finalized.

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Image via Indonesia.travel
"Just wait. [The preparation of the project development] is in the final stage. The Industry Ministry and the Communication and Informatics Ministry are finalizing the plan," [Rudiantara] said. "It's more important. By late December, they will commence the execution for the location. So, in 2017, they will start building structures and recruiting employees," he added.
Rudiantara said that he knows the monetary value of Apple's investment in the Jakarta R&D center, but did not divulge the number to the press. In addition to the proposed site in Jakarta, Apple has set up similar R&D centers in China, Japan, Israel, and the UK, and is said to be planning similar facilities in Canada, India, and Vietnam to take advantage of local resources.

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