New Singapore data centre tangled in Indonesian sovereignty controversy
Fri 19 Jun 2015
As construction work starts on the new 200sq.m Telkom data centre in Jurong, Singapore, criminal charges have been filed against state-owned enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno for allowing the communications firm to host Indonesian government data on Singaporean soil.
Non-governmental group Indonesia Club has raised the data sovereignty case, concerned that hosting the Indonesian government’s e-services in Singapore would violate state intelligence laws, as well as electronic communications legislation.
“What we’re reporting about is the sale of state secrets,” said Gigih Guntoro, director at the Indonesia Club. In a press briefing at the police headquarters in South Jakarta, Guntoro told reporters that they are questioning “the cooperation between Telkom and Singtel.”
“In the context of business-to-business, it’s fine, but there are a lot of violations in this [joint venture],” he said.
Telkom holds a 60% stake in the data centre venture, with the rest owned by Singtel, Singapore’s largest telecommunications company. Singtel’s majority shareholder is Temasek – a private holdings firm owned by the Singapore government.
According to Guntoro, letting Singtel operate the Jurong facility, which will host critical data of the Indonesian government, will violate the 2013 State Intelligence Law as well as a 2012 federal regulation regarding the operation of electronic systems and transactions. The 2012 law states that data servers for any public service must reside within Indonesian borders.
“The data will be in Singapore and they can know everything about us, even details about Indonesia’s military. There’s a danger of data breach,” argued Nonot Harsono, former member of the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (BRTI).
In a recent press release Minister Soemarno had said that cooperation with Singtel to host Indonesia e-government data was the right course of action as the Singapore company had more expertise and the right advanced technology to handle the information.
The construction started at the Jurong site on 5th June, and is expected to cost in the region of S$153mn (approx. £72mn).