Indonesian Civil Society and Data Activism: Online Identity, Relationship, and Protection

Dr Fiona Suwana1

1Queensland University Of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Digital activism potentially amplified the capacities of civil society and political movements. A previous example of digital media being used to support civil society mobilization in Indonesia, like in the focal case of the anti-corruption movement of #SaveKPK and #AkuKPK in 2015 (Freedom House, 2015; Suwana, 2019) and the ForBALI movement participants (Bräuchler, 2018, Freedom House, 2016). While the online data practices in digital activism provide opportunities for how users develop the identity, relationships, and protection. Data activism shows the complex environment of group actions and individual engagement that takes a critical standpoint between big data and enormous data collection (Milan, 2017). The use of data activism can have significant results for connecting and mobilizing society. Although embracing these data practices can bring to problematic conditions of how to protect the activists and members of profiling, microtargeting, and privacy. Therefore, there is a need for an understanding of what data practices exist and how to express it. This paper discusses findings of in-depth interviews Indonesian civil society from the Save KPK movement (an anti-corruption movement), the ForBALI movement (environmental movement), and the 2019 Indonesian Presidential Election Campaign (pro-Jokowi movement).


Fiona Suwana is a course designer for QUT International and Australia Awards Indonesia program and researcher at QUT DMRC, School of Communication. Her research focuses on digital activism, digital media, digital media literacy, and online protection specifically for civic engagement and political participation that support democratic practices and institutions


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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