This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in Vietnamese. (May 2018) Click [show] for important translation instructions. Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 736 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Vietnamese Wikipedia article at [[:vi:Kiểm duyệt Internet ở Việt Nam]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|vi|Kiểm duyệt Internet ở Việt Nam)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

Internet censorship in Vietnam prevents access to websites critical of the Vietnamese government, expatriate political parties, and international human rights organizations, among others or anything the Vietnamese government does not agree with.[1] Online police reportedly monitor Internet cafes and cyber dissidents have been imprisoned. Vietnam regulates its citizens' Internet access using both legal and technical means. The government's efforts to regulate, monitor, and provide oversight regarding Internet use has been referred to as a "Bamboo Firewall".[2] However, citizens can usually view, comment and express their opinions civilly on the internet, as long as it does not evoke anti-government movement, political coup and disrupt the social stability of the country.

The OpenNet Initiative classified the level of filtering in Vietnam as pervasive in the political, as substantial in the Internet tools, and as selective in the social and conflict/security areas in 2011,[3] while Reporters without Borders consider Vietnam an "internet enemy".[1][4]

While the government of Vietnam claims to safeguard the country against obscene or sexually explicit content through its blocking efforts, many of the filtered sites contain no such content, but rather politically or religiously critical materials that might undermine the Communist Party and the stability of its one-party rule.[5] Amnesty International reported many instances of Internet activists being arrested for their online activities.[6]

Background

A sign above a computer monitor in an Internet cafe reminding patrons that they are forbidden from accessing sites with "reactionary" or "depraved" content
A sign above a computer monitor in an Internet cafe reminding patrons that they are forbidden from accessing sites with "reactionary" or "depraved" content

Vietnam's internet regulation commenced in large part as a result of the government's 1997 decree concerning Internet usage, wherein the General Director of the Postal Bureau (DGPT) was granted exclusive regulatory oversight of the Internet.[2] As a result, the DGPT regulated every aspect of the Internet, including the registration and creation of Internet Service Providers, and the registration of individuals wishing to use the Internet through subscription contracts.

Legal framework

Regulatory responsibility for Internet material is divided along subject-matter lines with the Ministry of Culture and Information focusing on sexually explicit, superstitious, or violent content, while the Ministry of Public Security monitors politically sensitive content. Vietnam nominally guarantees freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly through constitutional provisions, but state security laws and other regulations reduce or eliminate these formal protections in practice. All information stored on, sent over, or retrieved from the Internet must comply with Vietnam's Press Law, Publication Law, and other laws, including state secrets and intellectual property protections. All domestic and foreign individuals and organizations involved in Internet activity in Vietnam are legally responsible for content created, disseminated, and stored. It is unlawful to use Internet resources or host material that opposes the state; destabilizes Vietnam's security, economy, or social order; incites opposition to the state; discloses state secrets; infringes organizations’ or individuals’ rights; or interferes with the state's Domain Name System (DNS) servers. Law on Information Technology was enacted in June 2006. Those who violate Internet use rules are subject to a range of penalties, from fines to criminal liability for offenses such as causing chaos or security order.[7]

A 2010 law required public Internet providers, such as Internet cafes, hotels, and businesses providing free Wi-Fi, to install software to track users' activities.[8][9]

In September 2013, Decree 72 came into effect; making it illegal to distribute any materials online that "harms national security” or “opposes" the government, only allows users to "provide or exchange personal information" through blogs and social media outlets—banning the distribution of "general information" or any information from a media outlet (including state-owned outlets), and requires that foreign web companies operate servers domestically if they target users in Vietnam.[10]

Censored content

Subversive content

A list of regulations posted at an Internet cafe north of Saigon, among the listed rules are those forbidding patrons from accessing sites with subversive or pornographic content.
A list of regulations posted at an Internet cafe north of Saigon, among the listed rules are those forbidding patrons from accessing sites with subversive or pornographic content.

OpenNet research found that blocking is concentrated on websites with contents about overseas political opposition, overseas and independent media, human rights, and religious topics.[3] Proxies and circumvention tools, which are illegal to use, are also frequently blocked.

The majority of blocked websites are specific to Vietnam: those written in Vietnamese or dealing with issues related to Vietnam.[3] Sites not specifically related to Vietnam or only written in English are rarely blocked. For example, the Vietnamese-language version of the website for Radio Free Asia was blocked by both tested ISPs while the English-language version was only blocked by one.[3] While only the website for the human rights organization Human Rights Watch was blocked in the tested list of global human rights sites, many Vietnamese-language sites only tangentially or indirectly critical of the government were blocked as well as sites strongly critical of the government.

The website of the British Broadcasting Corporation (www.bbc.co.uk), which has a significant journalistic presence, is an example of a website that is blocked—albeit intermittently.

Pornography

Although "obscene" content is one of the main reasons cited by the government to censor the Internet, in fact very few websites with pornography are censored in Vietnam. This shows that censorship is in fact not for government reasons. A study by OpenNet in 2006 showed that no websites with pornography were blocked (except for a site containing a link to a pornography site, but was blocked for other reasons).[11] When some sites such as Facebook and YouTube are considered by the media representatives in Vietnam to be blocked due to economic reasons because accounting for 70%–80% of international bandwidth runs through without bringing profits to the home.[citation needed] At the same time, some local feedback asked if thousands of porn websites were profitable for the network without being blocked. In November 2019, some Vietnamese ISPs may have blocked a mass of porn sites silently or officially;[citation needed] this action hasn't been clearly announced yet.

Social networking

The popular social networking website Facebook has about 8.5 million users in Vietnam and its user base has been growing quickly after the website added a Vietnamese-language interface.[12] During the week of November 16, 2009, Vietnamese Facebook users reported being unable to access the website.[13] Access had been intermittent in the previous weeks, and there were reports of technicians ordered by the government to block access to Facebook.

A supposedly official decree dated August 27, 2009, was earlier leaked on the Internet, but its authenticity has not been confirmed. The Vietnamese government denied deliberately blocking access to Facebook, and the Internet service provider FPT said that it is working with foreign companies to solve a fault blocking to Facebook's servers in the United States.[14]

Blogging

In Vietnam, Yahoo! 360° was a popular blogging service. After the government crackdown on journalists reporting on corruption in mid-2008, many blogs covered the events, often criticizing the government action. In response, the Ministry of Information proposed new rules that would restrict blogs to personal matters.[15]

Global Voices Advocacy maintains a list of bloggers who have been arrested for their views expressed online.[16] Other bloggers who have also been arrested by the Vietnamese government for simply expressing their rights can be found on the 2011 crackdown on Vietnamese youth activists.

In 2020, Medium was blocked. As of 2021, there are still a number of Internet service provider block based on technology deep packet inspection.

Instant messaging

Yahoo! Messenger is amongst the instant messaging software that appears to be monitored, with messages often blocked (i.e., not seen by intended recipient).

Criticism of government

In 2019, Vietnam introduced a cybersecurity law that made it illegal to criticize the government online and requires ISPs to hand over user data when requested.[17]

Persecution for illegal Internet activities

A component of Vietnam's strategy to control the Internet consists of the arrest of bloggers, netizens and journalists.[18][19] The goal of these arrests is to prevent dissidents from pursuing their activities, and to persuade others to practice self-censorship. Vietnam is the world's second largest prison for netizens after China.[20]

References

  1. ^ a b Reporters Without Borders. "Internet Enemies: Vietnam". Archived from the original on 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  2. ^ a b Robert N. Wilkey (Summer 2002). "Vietnam's Antitrust Legislation and Subscription to E-ASEAN: An End to the Bamboo Firewall Over Internet Regulation?". The John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law. The John Marshall Law School. XX (4). Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
  3. ^ a b c d OpenNet Initiative "Summarized global Internet filtering data spreadsheet" Archived 2012-01-10 at the Wayback Machine, 8 November 2011 and "Country Profiles" Archived 2011-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, the OpenNet Initiative is a collaborative partnership of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and the SecDev Group, Ottawa
  4. ^ Internet Enemies Archived 2012-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, Reporters Without Borders (Paris), 12 March 2012
  5. ^ "OpenNet Initiative Vietnam Report: University Research Team Finds an Increase in Internet Censorship in Vietnam". Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. 2006-08-05. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  6. ^ Amnesty International (2006-10-22). "Viet Nam: Internet repression creates climate of fear". Archived from the original on 2018-11-22. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  7. ^ "Vietnam country report" Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine, OpenNet Initiative, 9 May 2007
  8. ^ Harvey, Rachel (2010-08-18). "Vietnam's bid to tame the internet boom". Archived from the original on 2016-09-27. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  9. ^ Censorship, Index on (2014-02-20). "Internet repression in Vietnam continues as 30-month prison sentence for blogger is upheld". Index on Censorship. Archived from the original on 2019-09-28. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  10. ^ "Just Stick to Celebrity Gossip: Vietnam Bans Discussion of News From Blogs and Social Sites". Time. 2 September 2013. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Internet Filtering in Vietnam in 2005-2006: A Country Study". OpenNet Initiative. 2006. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  12. ^ ""Vietnam boasts 30.8 million internet users." Accessed 5-21-2013". Archived from the original on 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  13. ^ STOCKING, BEN (2009-11-17). "Vietnam Internet users fear Facebook blackout". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2018-03-19. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  14. ^ Marsh, Vivien (2009-11-20). "Vietnam government denies blocking networking site". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  15. ^ Ben Stocking (2008-12-06). "Test for Vietnam government: free-speech bloggers". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
  16. ^ "Threatened Voices: Bloggers >> Vietnam" Archived 2010-04-17 at the Wayback Machine, Global Voices Advocacy, accessed 20 March 2012
  17. ^ Vietnam criticised for 'totalitarian' law banning online criticism of government Archived 2019-01-02 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian, 2018
  18. ^ "Vietnam Report" in Enemies of the Internet 2011 Archived 2012-05-14 at the Wayback Machine, Reporters Without Borders
  19. ^ "Vietnam Report" in Enemies of the Internet 2012 Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, Reporters Without Borders
  20. ^ 121 Netizens Imprisoned in 2012 Archived 2012-11-10 at the Wayback Machine, Press Freedom Barometer 2012, Reporters Without Borders
  21. ^ "Blogger Lu Van Bay Serving Four-Year Sentence" Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, Reporters Without Borders, 26 September 2011
  22. ^ "Document". www.amnesty.org. Archived from the original on 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  23. ^ Paddock, Richard C. (27 November 2017). "Vietnamese Blogger Gets 7 Years in Jail for Reporting on Toxic Spill". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.