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Activists Worry About a New "Green Dam" In Vietnam 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-dam-project-after-another dept.
alphadogg writes "Human rights activists are worried that new software mandated by Vietnamese authorities may lead to an Internet clampdown in the country's largest city. In April, local officials issued new regulations covering Internet cafes and service providers in Hanoi, ostensibly designed to crack down on hacking and other service abuses. Buried in the regulations is a mandate that service providers must add special software to their domain servers, used to authenticate systems on the network. Nobody quite knows what the software is, but activists in the US worry that it may be used to clamp down on Internet usage in a country that has seen more and more grassroots information-sharing on social networks over the past year. Last year China tried to force PC makers to ship Green Dam censorware with all computers sold in the country, saying the software would help crack down on online pornography. But Chinese authorities — already known for their notorious Great Firewall — eventually backed off from their plans after critics raised a host of privacy, security and system stability concerns, and Chinese Internet users showed no interest in installing the program."
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Activists Worry About a New "Green Dam" In Vietnam

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  • Jump to conclusions? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday June 07, 2010 @04:45PM (#32488918)

    Since nobody knows what the software does, and a copy hasn't been released yet to be installed, anything said about it is pure speculation. "Internet Service Retailers Management Software" could be just about anything.

    • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @04:47PM (#32488950)

      Yes, because perfectly innocuous software needs a legal mandate requiring universal adoption.

      People are drawing conclusions from what is known.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday June 07, 2010 @04:50PM (#32488998)

        Yes, because perfectly innocuous software needs a legal mandate requiring universal adoption.

        Universal adoption? It applies to ISPs, not every computer in the country. It could be something to impliment a HIPPA-like data retention and protection plan, or to secure financial data, or provide more robust encryption between DNS servers to thwart hijacking attempts. Or it could be a complete spy package.

        It's never good to make assumptions -- you have to work with what you know. The moment you step away from that, you're in the land of conspiracy theories and what-if logic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 0123456 (636235)

          It's never good to make assumptions -- you have to work with what you know. The moment you step away from that, you're in the land of conspiracy theories and what-if logic.

          True. I'm sure that secret software mandated by a communist government to be installed at their ISP is entirely in the best interests of their population.

          • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Monday June 07, 2010 @05:06PM (#32489226) Journal
            We need a +1 Sarcastic mod.
          • by iammani (1392285)
            What does communism have to with this?
            • by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday June 07, 2010 @05:17PM (#32489336) Journal

              What does communism have to with this?

              Crack a book some time. The fact that communist countries have the worst track record in oppressing religion and free expression isn't new, or even controversial. As fucked up as the laws are in the USA and Europe, they don't even compare to the restrictions that the former USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba have instituted over the years.

              Go ahead, pick any communist country, and show us how they are less oppressive than the US, Australia or any EU country. I won't hold my breath.

              • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

                by iammani (1392285)
                And there no other oppressive regimes other than communist ones? If there others, then the adjective you are looking for is "oppressive" (or dictatorship or fascist) and not "communist".
                • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday June 07, 2010 @05:36PM (#32489550) Journal

                  And there no other oppressive regimes other than communist ones?

                  No, but pretty much all the communist ones have been oppressive, so one might be correct in assuming all existing communist regimes are oppressive regimes.

                  And if that is the case, its better to be accurate as opposed to ambiguous - since not all Oppressive regimes are communist, calling a communist regime an oppressive regime when it is a communist regime (which implies oppressive) would be silly.

                  Following along?

                • by Pharmboy (216950)

                  I think the point is this: can you name ONE communist country that ISN'T oppressive? No? Ok. Is the country we are discussing a communist country. Yes? Ok.

                  So to assume that a communist country is oppressive isn't exactly assuming. It doesn't say that all non-communist countries are perfect. You can quit defending communism now. Of all the possible evils, the vast majority here will agree that it tops the list.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by ozmanjusri (601766)
                    Cyprus
                    • by operagost (62405)
                      Not communist, although definitely socialist. It has a market economy and legislators elected by popular vote.
                  • Communist states within democratic federations have not necessarily been oppressive - e.g. the Indian state of Kerala, which was rather well run by communists.

          • True. I'm sure that secret software mandated by a communist government to be installed at their ISP is entirely in the best interests of their population.

            Cisco's Backdoor for Hackers [forbes.com]
            Cisco isn't actually the primary target of Cross' critique. He points out that all networking companies are legally required to build lawful intercepts into their equipment.

            You can proceed with whatever rambling rationalization your reality demands.

        • Hey, scream "Conspiracy Theory!!!" long enough, and sooner or later, you are *bound* to be right!
      • by molnarcs (675885)

        Yes, because perfectly innocuous software needs a legal mandate requiring universal adoption.

        People are drawing conclusions from what is known.

        Disclaimer: I've been living in Vietnam for over 2 years. I see your point, but I agree with the GP - Vietnam is far less restrictive in almost everything than China. Yes, there is censorship in the media, specifically you can't demand democracy or change in the form of government and you can't write anything bad about Ho Chi Minh. On the other hand, there is also considerable freedom to criticize government decisions, even in Thanh Nien (The Youth) daily newspaper (the most popular newspaper) in the count

    • Yeah because we all know that government-mandated software is always a good thing. It is -never- a good thing. Ever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by D H NG (779318)
      Considering that this government already attacked critical websites [mcafee.com] using a DDOS attack, it's not out of the question for them to attempt something like Green Dam.
    • by ronocdh (906309)

      "Internet Service Retailers Management Software" could be just about anything.

      I don't know what about "could be just about anything" isn't frightening to you when it refers to software that the government mandates be put on your computer.

    • That's like saying Duke Nukem Forever was never released or installed, and anything said about it is pure speculation. It could have been a game, or it could have been a typing tutor. It could have been Tax-Revenue Software. It could have been a batch file that filled your hard drive with LOLCats. It could have been a script to shutdown your computer.

      What I'm saying is: Don't be ridiculous. This "pure speculation" has as much of a concrete idea behind it as one would assume that Portal 2 is going to be a vi

    • Context matters.

      "Vietnam unfortunately boasts some of the world's most explicit restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and the arrests of bloggers have provided a chilling reminder to those who choose to speak out against the government that they put themselves at personal risk. Independent media is virtually non-existent, with all media outlets being state-run. To even register a new media outlet requires purchasing the right to obtain a license from an existing state-run organ, a dub

    • For one thing, Vietnam isn't China. Vietnam fought China after it defeated the US (which was after it defeated France), and beat China back out of its borders, too.

      For another thing, Vietnam's government is a very hands-off government. If anything the main problem for Vietnamese people is their government's failure to lead and protect them from people with private power. For all its styling itself a "Communist" government, Vietnam's actual government is quite far in practice from anything like the totalitar

      • >Vietnam's government is a very hands-off government. If anything the main problem for Vietnamese people is their government's failure to > lead and protect them from people with private power.

        Not quite. They are the same people. State and money are merged.

        http://report.globalintegrity.org/Vietnam [globalintegrity.org]

        http://report.globalintegrity.org/Vietnam/2009/scorecard/7/ [globalintegrity.org]

      • Vietnam fought China after it defeated the US

        I do hope you understand that the only place that Vietnam "defeated" the US was at the conference table. They never, not even once, defeated us on the ground. Even when they sent 150,000 men across the boarder in The Eastertide Offensive, [wikipedia.org] US forces drove them back, smashing all of their armor and mechanized transport and sending the 50,000 survivors stumbling home on foot. I know; I was in Tonkin Gulf at the time, and my ship's shore bombardment was part of

        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          This is correct. The Vietnam War ended for the United States when the US and North Vietnam agreed to a cease-fire peace treaty and the US withdrew. Then following the US Congress ending military assistance to the South, North Vietnam invaded and wrecked the South's resistance.

          There was never a US military defeat in the Vietnam War, not even the popularized "defeat" during the Tet Offensive of 1968 were the US or ARVN defeated.

          The 1972-73 ceasefire and peace treaty happened because the United States bombed t

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by Doc Ruby (173196)

          I do hope you realize that wars are won or lost when one side surrenders. Which is what the US did. Many years after we should have left that country to its own civil war.

          Thank you for demonstrating just why the Vietnam War was such a fiasco: even 40 years later, you're still fighting it, after we lost it. You think the killing was "the good part", and that the people who got you out of there were "almost treasonous". You and your war did more to undermine this country than practically anything ever done by

  • Hanoi not biggest (Score:4, Informative)

    by D H NG (779318) on Monday June 07, 2010 @04:50PM (#32488992)
    Hanoi may be the capital but it's not the most populous city, not even by a long shot. It recently gobbled up a nearby province but it's still smaller than Saigon, now officially Ho Chi Minh City.
    • by _merlin (160982)

      Sorry to nitpick, but to be precise, Sài Gòn only refers to the central districts (depending on who you ask, they may say just district 1, or districts 1 to 4). The correct name for the greater city is Thành ph H Chí Minh. Hà Ni is definitely larger than Sài Gòn.

      • by _merlin (160982)

        Damn Slashcode ate up three vowels with tone marks. Oh well - you'll have to fill in the gaps.

      • by D H NG (779318)
        Ask any Vietnamese what they mean when they say "Saigon", and I can tell you that they'll tell you they mean the city now renamed to HCMC. The pedantic meaning of Saigon is only used by bureaucrats.
        • by _merlin (160982)

          I've lived in TPHCM district 7 and my wife is Viet. People will often refer to the greater city as Sai Gon, particularly older people. However, if you ask them straight up what the difference is, they will tell you, and when writing (or typing) most younger people will use the abbreviation "TPHCM" to refer to the greater city.

          • by TheDugong (701481)

            Pedant.

            If a non-Australian asks me where I live I will say Sydney. If I am referring to Sydney it could also mean just "The City" or "The CBD", or the entire metropolitan area. If I wanted to makes sure someone knew I meant the whole of the Sydney Metropolitan Area, I would say "Sydney Metropolitan Area". I might even reply with the name of the suburb I live in if I wanted to be more specific, or even the area "The Northern Beaches" if I wanted to be less specific about where I lived, but more specific than

  • This could spread to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. From there it's just a short swim to Australia!
    • It could be worse .. it could arrive in a LEAKY BOAT *cue political armageddon*

      For those outside Australia who don't get the above, the arrival of refugees via 'leaky boats' has been a political headache with lots of accusations flying back and forth.
  • Internet related crime is so out of control in Vietnam, that despite privacy/human rights concerns, I completely believe that the motive is to reduce crime, and I hope that it will be effective.
  • These are human-rights activists concerned about a potential "Internet clampdown". Why isn't the Internet in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Surely a revision is needed to validate this path of logic, although to lose access to a wealth of information via the Internet is very painful, that I will admit.
  • by Funnnny (1409625)
    I'm living in VietNam, and I think the article have some misleading
    The government only require the Internet Cafe have a server that install a Internet cafe management software accepted by the government, although the accepted list isn't issued yet, but they don't force the Internet Cafe to install any software. It's mostly to prevent student to access porn and some other blacklisted site in Internet Cafe.
    I think it's fine, because most internet cafes are using one, like Vinagame's CSM

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