New Normal for Crime: The Urgency of Better Internet Governance for Indonesia

July 18, 2020 7:00 am || By

The New Normal (also known as Adaptasi Kebiasaan Baru[1] or Adaptation Towards New Habits as coined by National Disaster Management Authority, not to be confused with WHO’s definition of New Normal), the phrase our government so rigorously socialize in the last few weeks to welcome a brand new sort of normality during the still-looming threat of COVID-19 in our society. There are various articles available all over the Internet to support the governments’ efforts on establishing the movement, ranging from lifestyle tips to mental healthcare tips.

Among these tips, an article published by[2] on how to live safely (from crime) during this era of new normal definitely hit closest to home. Originally cited from Europol, this article discussed the four aspects of safety as we welcome the new normal, which summarizes to out-and-about life, home life, children’s safety, and your finances. The opening statement of Europol’s guidelines actually serves as the lighter for this writing. It says that “now the confinement measures are starting to relax. Criminals are still looking for victims.” and I really cannot agree more with this statement.

Source: Europol[3]

Indonesia is one of the most active nations in terms of Internet usage. In fact, according to the statistics, we are in the 5th country in the world with most Internet users, outranking even Japan[4]. Even so, Indonesia is still plagued with the evergrowing issue of digital divide, which arises from the inequality of infrastructure in Indonesian regions[5]. There was even a study to measure exactly which regions in Indonesia have the highest index of experiencing digital divide done by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology[6] and the results indicate the digital divide mostly happens in the Eastern part of Indonesia such as Papua, Nusa Tenggara Timur (East Nusa Tenggara) and Sulawesi Tengah (Middle Sulawesi).

And yet the new normal protocol calls upon the entirety of Indonesia to live a much more digitalized life. Thus I observe the possibility for criminals to exploit this gap by taking advantage of the newly normalized phygital (physical-digital) society of Indonesia. Thus, this writing will discuss how the nation is in dire need of a much more improved form of Internet governance as part of our response towards the government’s call for a new sort of normality.

My concern is not mine alone. Hinsa Siburian, the head of The National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN) had stated that after the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber threats such as attacks towards infrastructures such as data, data transmission process, and even the data storage process will be a massive thing as a new culture that will be a societal norm emerges[7]. As if this wasn’t enough, there was also the fact that almost all form of business, communication, and even life itself has its digital equivalent, meaning that crimes that exist as a threat in our everyday life also has its own digital equivalent as well. And this digital equivalent of crime is referred to by criminologists as cybercrime. 

There are plenty of definitions of cybercrime, but in simplest terms; cybercrime is a criminal act that has something to do with cyberspace[8]. Jewkes and Yar explained that there are two forms of cybercrime, the computer-oriented crime such as the cyber threats mentioned by the BSSN, and the computer-assisted crime such as fraudulent shopping and other commonly known crimes such as cyberbullying a, online defamation, or identity theft[9].

The word ‘new normal’ has existed in the world of cybercrime and cybersecurity for quite some time with a very different context with what the world meant today. New normal in the world of cybercrime meant that there is always a new and improved form of cyberattacks. The new normal for crime  I wish to explore is actually something more social and less tech-y, where the policy and regulations are as good as blurred lines.

I have always seen UU ITE (Electronic Information and Transactions Law) as jack-of-all-trades. It is the Indonesian governments’ attempt on regulating cyberspace, but this leaves so much more to be desired since there are too many things that fell on gray area. In my personal opinion, UU ITE is an attempt to fit just about everything the government thinks is needed to govern the Internet, but it is simply not so.

This opinion stems from my previous research[10] when I interview various stakeholders to understand about the online trade of counterfeit medicines. The thing is, most government bodies think that cybercrime fell in the domain of Cyber Crime Directorate of Criminal Investigation Agency (Direktorat Tipidsiber Bareskrim), but the agents of cybercrime directorate expressed that at times, they cannot move due to the lack of existing regulation of a specific crime.

The slow giants of bureaucracy are oftentimes unable to keep up with the ever-evolving innovators that are the cybercriminals. But this doesn’t mean that rules and policies cannot be made to regulate the cyberspace (and by extension, ease the Tipidsiber agents’ movements). Georgia Tech School of Public Policy had created an initiative called the Internet Governance Project, where they research the topics on rules, policies, standards and practices that coordinate and shape global cyberspace[11]. They divided the policy topics on cybersecurity, digital trade, free expression online, privacy and surveillance, internet governance institutions, internet identifiers, and geopolitics.

As previously mentioned, not all Indonesians are digitally literate. Thus a clear set of Internet regulations and policies will greatly help the entire nation as we transition in a much more phygitalized life. It can also provide a clear legal ground of protection for the millions of Indonesians surfing the Internet every day from the lurking threat of cybercriminals who are looking forward to exploit the digital divide present during the transitional era of new normality.

Author: Irnasya Shafira
Editor: Amelinda Pandu Kusumaningtyas

[1] Silvia Nur Fajri. 2020. Tak Lagi Pakai Istilah New Normal, Ini 5 Arahan Presiden Terkait Penerapan Adaptasi Kebiasaan Baru accessed from on 22 June 2020

[2] Luthfia Ayu Azanella. 2020. 4 Tips Jalani Kehidupan New Normal di Tengah Pandemi Corona accessed from on 22 June 2020

[3] Accessed from on 22 June 2020

[4] Statista. Maret, 2019. Indonesia Peringkat Kelima Dunia dalam Jumlah Pengguna Internet accessed from,26%20juta%20per%20Maret%202019. on 22 June 2020

[5] Alya Putri. 2018. The Digital Divide in Indonesia accessed from on 22 June 2020

[6] Ariyanti, S. (2016). Studi pengukuran digital divide di Indonesia. Buletin Pos dan Telekomunikasi, 11(4), 281-292.

[7] iTech Magazine. 2020. Ancaman Cyber Crime Makin Tinggi di Era New Norm accessed from on 22 June 2020

[8] Makarim E. 2005. Pengantar Hukum Telematika: Suatu Kompilasi Kajian. Jakarta: RajaGrafindo Persada pp. 430

[9] Jewkes, Y., Yar, M. 2010. Handbook of Internet Crime. United Kingdom: Willan Publishing pp. 1

[10] Shafira, I. (2018). Analisis Peranan Negara dalam Peredaran Obat Palsu Secara Online di Indonesia dalam Kerangka State-Facilitated Organized Crime. Universitas Indonesia

[11] Accessed from on 22 June 2020