The danger of hacker Bjorka to the Government lies not in the information he purportedly hacked and leaked. The danger comes from the reaction of Indonesian netizens to any news or posts about Bjorka’s antics.
Check out Twitter and other social media news feeds and typical reactions are support for Bjorka and criticism of the government. Bjorka is, to many, becoming a folk hero like Robin Hood or V in V for Vendetta.
Rightly or not, the netizens’ reactions suggest Bjorka is being seen as someone flipping the bird to a government that is engaged in Double Speak, authoritarianism and Thought Control. The stuff that folk heroes battle against.
The perception of their reactions may be skewed. Netizens are known for their groundswell of rage against any authoritative figure. They may represent only the modern day chattering classes and no one else.
This is not to say, however, that they do not have a legitimate reason to rage against the Government, a sentiment that is ironically fed by the Government’s reaction to Bjorka.
So far the Government has fumbled and sent mixed messages about Bjorka. The dismissed him as inconsequential and that he has not really hacked anything important. Yet they rail against him and seen fit to set up a high level data security task force to curb activities of Bjorka and other hackers.
The Government also fed the netizen’s sense of contempt for authority from mishandling its reaction to data security leaks. Information Minister Johnny Plate’s response about needing to keep OTPs secure only exposes what many perceive to be a normalization of stupidity and incompetence in the highest levels of office.
The fact that he has not been held accountable for this and many other gross mistakes and misstatements in the past is increasingly being seen as a normalization of impunity.
This is because these days almost no one in high office is being held accountable for anything, either through their own actions or for something under their watch.
Hence you have Ferdy Sambo running a mafia within the highest echelons of police and no one high is being held accountable. In other countries the Minister for Law and the Head of Police would have to resign for letting something like this happen under their watch.
The normalization takes place because their is no longer any effective political opposition. The media, already reeling from the onslaught from social media, is cowed and does not ask questions. Foreign journalists, those pesky foreigners who ask pointed questions, are not being issued permits to work here.
Just about the only avenue for proper dissent these days is on the internet. But even here, Big Brother is at work. The word “Buzzers RP” is used with fear and loathing by netizens because they are seen as the Brown Shirts of the elite to muzzle any criticism.
When all avenues for healthy criticism and dissent seem blocked and controlled, people like Bjorka become admirable.
In all the stories of folk heroes fighting against authority the pattern is always the same. Tyranny and control up to a point where everyone is fed up. They do not know what to do. Then someone emerges who can tweak the nose of the authorities.
The people love him, the authorities overreact and attract more hatred. They start making mistakes and drive more people to support the Bjorka figures.
Then an idea of resistance is sown and from there it grows and grows.
Will this happen in Indonesia? Unlikely, but never say never….