Is Indonesia about to block BlackBerry smartphones?

A news article from Channel News Asia suggest Indonesia may be about to follow the UAE’s lead (as blogged here) and play hardball with BlackBerry maker RIM over data privacy and national security.

The middle eastern country recently announced its intention to block BlackBerry usage unless RIM deploys a dedicated server in the country, allowing the government to keep tabs on data and information within the RIM network in the UAE.

Comments from Indonesian IT minister Tifatul Sembiring in the CNA piece (as below) suggest the Southeast Asian country is angling for similar access to data:

The information and electronic transaction law (UU ITE) law states that providers operating in Indonesia, even those that are internationally based, must build servers here,” Tifatul said.

The servers were needed to perform wiretaps in crime cases, bringing in non-tax revenue for the country and reducing service charges for customers, he said.

The ministry had sent a letter to RIM requesting the installation of the servers, but had not received a response as yet, Tifatul said. He added that the ministry would monitor the progress of the request before deciding what steps to take next.

Coverage of RIM’s difficulties in the UAE, along with rumours of issues in India, have seen the issue gain considerable press worldwide which is likely to prompt many nations – particularly Southeast Asian states which typically seek to control information online – into contacting RIM to arrange specific local servers.

It seems likely the heightened profile of data security and recent controversies around Wikileaks may also be a factor in the reporting of RIM/BlackBerry data access stories.