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back to article Vietnam crimps online freedom of speech with 'Decree 72'

The Vietnamese government has introduced new restrictions on internet freedom with "Decree 72" – a new law which critics say will encourage self censorship and deter foreign investment. Brought into force lastSunday, Decree 72 limits the use of blogs and social media to “providing or exchanging personal information”, and …

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A damn shame.

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Meh

Knee Jerk

Knee Jerk reaction after finding out that the NSA has its fingers in every pie.

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Facepalm

Re: Knee Jerk

Really? I can only assume that you're delibrately trolling, as anyone who's followed news coming out of Vietnam for a while has seen this coming for at least 2 years.

Idiot...

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Coat

There was news coming out of Vietnam ?

Well that's news to me.

Especially since I've stopped following the news. It's always depressing, without fail.

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WTF?

Re: Knee Jerk

We don't, according to Snowden, have an NSA outpost in VietNam, however they do in Kampuchea / Cambodia and Cambodia's InterNet feed is from VietNam (overland).

We also feed to Laos.

Perhaps we don't upset the Americans? Enough!

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Silver badge

It may be damned hard to enforce but that's the scariest thing about it. The more unenforceable a law like this is, the more the government must make up for it by making the penalties overly harsh.

It might only catch a few people but you can be sure that those people will get a very stiff punishment for it, just to discourage others.

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JaitcH

One of our regular posters here hails from vietnam or thereabouts iirc , it will be intresting to hear his thoughts on the matter.

The law itself is worrying, impractical and speaks volumes about the technical ineptitude of those in charge. It would seem they came from NHS IT procurement.

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Black Helicopters

Remind me again:

Just for *whom* is the (any) government supposed to be?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remind me again:

Themselves. It's Communism, so in any practical implementation you've got a self-perpetuating State which acts soley in the best interest of whoever they feel like, normally themselves.

This sort of government tends to come about through revolution, so you first get a government populated by revolutionaries. Because much as they want Equality for all, they did the work so why shouldn't they end up rulers? They'll just take another heaped spoonful of that equality, thankyouverymuch.

Then other people will start to oppose the less succesful aspects of the new approach ("I don't have enough to eat", "I don't remember the lines for bread being this long", etc) for which there's no easy fix and so the government will enact tough new legislation to keep the 'dissidents' in check, granting themselves more power to enact this. To avoid this sort of thing, people in government will work their families into the power structure for protection, gradually creating a fairly tight-knit group of people in power over the 'general populace'. So more and more the money and resources will be fed to this group at the top, with the general populace being subjugated (by overt force and intimidation by this time).

You see the same thing in Capitalism once you've got a 'ruling' group interfering with the market (either governmental or big businesses)

It's not how it's SUPPOSED to work, but how it's always come about so far (on a national scale).

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Alert

@AC - Re: Remind me again:

"It's Communism, so in any practical implementation you've got a self-perpetuating State which acts soley in the best interest of whoever they feel like, normally themselves."

Isn't it great that we, in the West, live in a free society so we don't have the same problems with a small elite running the country to suit themselves and the vested interests of their mates and financial backers...

[/cynic]

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Meh

Re: Remind me again:

Please note that VietNam is a SOCIALIST country like DENMARK and NOT a COMMUNIST country like China or Russia.

Big difference you'll only see if you visit.

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Happy

Re: @AC - Remind me again:

It's funny but many Americans in VietNam believe they have more freedom here in VietNam than they do in the USA.

Having lived here 21 years now I must say that I have never felt restrained by any laws particular to VN, and I move freely around the country with restraints only in the land border areas - which applies to most Vietnamese, too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remind me again:

Fuck a duck - you just compared that communist shit hole Vietnam with Danmark, a country with a democratic tradition rather longer than most.

It is hard to describe how different from each other these two states are.

I am astonished.

Vietnam is a communist state - get over it. And HCM was was one of the 10 biggest c*ts of the 20th century (I blame the French for that - they educated him, but I digress)

Denmark, on the other hand, is a democratic constitutional monarchy of a couple of hundred years standing, the current elected government being a centre-left coalition. The previous one was a right coalition (as will the next one I suspect).

I live in Danmark and I have visited Vietnam. I can see (and smell) the difference. If Vietnam slides into the see at a convenient moment, like California, it will be neither missed nor lamented.

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Anonymous Coward

Quote: "Its implementation will require massive and constant government surveillance of the entire Internet, an almost impossible challenge". Really, cough, splutter, cough... That was the sound of my coffee spilled over the keyboard... This one was on par with a good dilbert to start the day. Lovely sense of humour.

These journalists should probably consult with their brasilian friend exactly what government can and cannot do. Alternatively, they can look it up on the hard drive that got angle grinded in front of the government goons yesterday.

Vietnameese one is no different from some "more enlightened ones". They are just being nicely open, and up-front dictatorial about it instead of pretending that freedom of speech and freedom of press exist in reality.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, makes you wonder what rock the writer has been living under lately.

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Re: "exactly what government can and cannot do"

Government can do whatever the hell it decides to do right up to the point when the population it governs decides that enough is enough.

As for freedom of speech, if I remember correctly nobody has ever been arrested for posting something on a blog in our First World countries (with the exception of the English guy who blew his stack on Twitter and ended up making an unfortunate comment that was interpreted as a bomb threat - and that is still not something that impacts freedom of speech in a general sense).

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Re: "exactly what government can and cannot do"

"As for freedom of speech, if I remember correctly nobody has ever been arrested for posting something on a blog in our First World countries (with the exception of the English guy who blew his stack on Twitter and ended up making an unfortunate comment that was interpreted as a bomb threat - and that is still not something that impacts freedom of speech in a general sense)."

No, we're much more civilised - we just have draconian defamation laws that allow the rich and powerful to enforce self-censorship on pain of being ruined and living the rest of your life in a cardboard box.

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Bronze badge

It is sad that, since the end of the Cold War, the laws preventing the U.S. from carrying out regime change in Vietnam have not been repealed. This is the only way to put a stop to this kind of nonsense.

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three substitutions

It is sad that, since the end of the Revolutionary War, the laws preventing the U.K. from carrying out regime change in the U.S. have not been repealed. This is the only way to put a stop to this kind of nonsense.

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WTF?

According to a international survey a couple of years ago ...

it was determined that VietNam was one of the most happiest nations in the world. I live in the Vietnamese community (as opposed to the short-term 2-3 year types) and I am treated like a Vietnamese. They ARE happy - far different from 15 years ago.

The citizens are free to cross borders, immigrate, and even boat people are welcome to return.

If this is such a bad, depressing country why are so many Foreigners moving here, even if only for retirement?

There are many worse governments around the world.

America lost the American War in VietNam for good reason. They weren't fighting to reunify their nation as were the Vietnamese.

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Trollface

Re: three substitutions

It was all Napolean's doing you know!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: According to a international survey a couple of years ago ...

ROTFL - the N. Vietnamese were the Taliban of their era, led by an exceedingly nasty man ready to kill every person in Vietnam to achieve his goal. unification - you're deluded.

The South and North of Vietnam are dissimilar - vastly. The war was about a communist takeover of the South by the North and if you think that the racist views the northerners held over the southerners (and vice versa) were not part of the issue then you need to visit your local library.

The United States did not win the "war" in Vietnam for the same reason they didn't "win" in Korea. There was no real goal, and in the end no reason for marines to die to save one team of atrocious bastards from slaughtering the other team of possibly even more atrocious bastards. This last notion is what will probably keep western ground forces out of Syria - there are no "good guys" - just as was the case in Vietnam in the 60s

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Gold badge

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

If you want to do business with the Vietnamese people, you need to do it through an intermediary that is subject to Vietnamese law. Given the number of stories in El Reg over the years about whether judges in country X have jurisdiction over country Y, or whether porn from country X is legal in country Z, I'd say the world would be a better place if *every* country did it this way.

In fact, I'll go further. Once we have a generation of politicians that actually understands the internet (coz they grew up with it), this *is* what every country will do.

To those worried about the potential for abuse of power, let me just point out that if you are actually living in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government already has *ample* scope for abusing you. This changes very little.

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VietNam is a surprisingly open society although the 'retraining' camps are ...

filled with street people and drug users, busy shelling nuts.

As for our stream of Decrees emanating from Ha Noi, many are simply put out by various ministries to create the illusion they actually do something.

For example, Facebook is officially banned / blocked yet most every teenager has active feeds on their smartphones AND most are serviced by government owned cell carriers!

We have many decrees for wearing motorcycle helmets, stopping for pedestrians on crossings, paying VAT, yet most are ignored to some degree.

Requiring InterNet service companies have in-country servers is not so unreasonable when you consider we have 90-million+ citizens (and 130-million active cell phones).

My employer has servers in HongKong, Canada and the UK, as well as in VietNam, and we are licenced by the Ministry of Information here. We have never had a visit from them, never a complaint in over 15 years. We are not concerned.

So rather than getting worked up, we shall just lie back and see what happens.

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