Jakarta. The Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation, or YLKI, has warned the government about potential data breaches if the latter follows through on its plan to force mobile phone users to re-register their prepaid numbers in an effort to prevent fraud.
"The government should guarantee that personal data that belong to consumers will not be misused for commercial use or otherwise without their consent," Tulus Abadi, the managing director of YLKI, said in a statement to the Jakarta Globe of Friday (13/10).
An announcement from the Ministry of Communication and Information came a couple of days earlier and unveiled a plan that would force both new and long-time mobile phone users to re-register their numbers with identification on Oct. 31 and no later than Feb. 28, 2018.
Indonesian citizens will be required to use their ID cards and family registered numbers when registering their phone numbers, but foreigners will be able to use their passports at customer centers.
If an individual fails to register, according to the ministry's statement, their numbers will be blocked. Service providers will start blocking outgoing calls and short message services, followed by incoming calls and all messages, as well as internet services.
Phone users, however, will be able to register their numbers during the message-blocking period. Users only need to send a message to 4444 with the format "ID number#Family Registration number#" or "ULANG#ID number#Family Registration number#" for long-time users.
"Re-registration should have a thorough communication and dissemination process until it reaches consumers," Tulus said.
Tulus, however, is skeptical about whether the new database will be able to curb the number of unused and misused mobile phone cards as consumers are still allowed to have three numbers from each of Indonesia's six mobile operators.
Indonesia is known as a "mobile-first country." According to the World Bank, total mobile subscriptions in Indonesia last year numbered about 385 million, 100 million more than the country's population of 250 million.
Tulus said the towering number was a result of a tariff war between providers, so the government needs to address this issue to stop users from carrying multiple mobile phone cards.