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Censorship Government Social Networks

Online Law Banning Discussion of Current Affairs Comes Into Force In Vietnam 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-what-you-say dept.
another random user writes in with news about new internet restrictions come into effect in Vietnam. "A controversial law banning Vietnamese online users from discussing current affairs has come into effect. The decree, known as Decree 72, says blogs and social websites should not be used to share news articles, but only personal information. The law also requires foreign internet companies to keep their local servers inside Vietnam. The new law specifies that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook should only be used 'to provide and exchange personal information.' It also prohibits the online publication of material that "opposes" the Vietnamese government or 'harms national security.' Last month the US embassy in Hanoi said it was 'deeply concerned by the decree's provisions,' arguing that 'fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline.'"
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Online Law Banning Discussion of Current Affairs Comes Into Force In Vietnam

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  • by ckhorne (940312) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:11PM (#44732179)

    And the US is in a position to be talking about "fundamental freedoms"?

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:14PM (#44732213) Journal

      The US government is all for fundamental freedoms, providing your use of them can be logged, queried at will and used against you later.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:23PM (#44732253)

        The US government is all for fundamental freedoms, providing your use of them can be logged, queried at will and used against you later.

        Indeed. The US government wants everyone to talk about current affairs online, so they can easily flag and monitor the trouble-makers.

        The Vietnamese alternative is just so twentieth century.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by cold fjord (826450)

          Indeed. The US government wants everyone to talk about current affairs online, so they can easily flag and monitor the trouble-makers.

          Where " trouble-makers" is the set of people trying to use truck bombs, car bombs, and suicide vests, plus various experiments with poison gas and plague [telegraph.co.uk], to kill masses of innocent people, yes.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dmbasso (1052166)

            Because no government would ever abuse such powers, turning into a totalitarian regime without hope of reverting back to democracy, right[U+2e2e]

            If you want to take the risk, then you're really stupid. Unless for you it is not a risk, but the objective. Then you're waaaay more stupid than I thought.

            • turning into a totalitarian regime without hope of reverting back to democracy

              While on the subject of "stupid" - If it was impossible to change from a totalitarian state to a democratic one, there would be no democratic states in the first place.

              • by dmbasso (1052166)

                Is it impossible for you to realize you're wrong? No. Do I have any hope it will happen? I don't think so.

                And you know, there is this figure of speech called "hyperbole", used to emphasize an idea, perhaps you should study it.

                So it's good we kept on the subject of "stupid", others might learn from your mistake.

          • ... you forgot those that want to fly on and airplane and have views that aren't in line with government double-think, those who would expose the unconstitutional behavior of the government, and generally anyone who doesn't think like a fascist. Don't forget those "trouble makers". After all, they're the worst kind. They support terrorism!
          • by Type44Q (1233630)

            Where " trouble-makers" is the set of people trying to use truck bombs, car bombs, and suicide vests, plus various experiments with poison gas and plague, to kill masses of innocent people, yes.

            Sure, because there's so much to gain tactically and strategically for someone to engage in such behavior. :p

            Seriously, Fjord; you need to change your username (and your strawman; he's looking a trifle piqued); as I repeatedly told you, you've been outed.

            Oh, and think about telling Uncle Sam that you want Sundays off. :p

          • The label of "trouble-maker" applies to anyone the government, or individuals in the government, feel like targeting. If the government can get away with abusing its powers, and it is beneficial to do so, you'd better count on it happening.

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            Where " trouble-makers" is the set of people trying to use truck bombs, car bombs, and suicide vests, plus various experiments with poison gas and plague [telegraph.co.uk], to kill masses of innocent people, yes.

            Ummm... some would say US is happily in bed with such trouble makers [voiceofrussia.com].
            But this can't be true... or can it?

            • I doubt it for these reasons [slashdot.org].

              The Russian government continues to cover the back of the Syrian government as it has for decades.

              Hama 1982 – The Syrian massacre you never heard about [abovetopsecret.com]

              • by c0lo (1497653)

                The Russian government continues to cover the back of the Syrian government as it has for decades.

                I can't stop to notice that US does pretty much the same with the Saudi house (sort like a proxy war but instead of communism vs free world, it's now Sunni vs Shia).
                What doesn't make sense to me: is the Saudi house less interested in re-establishing the caliphate?

                • The US has been willing to protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. It doesn't really take sides between Sunni and Shia. You may note that Iraq is primarily Shia and the US worked to protect it. Iran is overwhelmingly Shia and the US was allied with it until the Islamic Revolution.

                  I doubt the House of Saud is strongly interested in reestablishing the Caliphate since they would have to pledge fealty to it. Al Qaida considers the House of Saud to be bad rulers, not Islamic enough in the right wa

                  • by c0lo (1497653)

                    You may note that Iraq is primarily Shia and the US worked to protect it.

                    Can you elaborate? I'm confused as how come the war on Iraq can qualify as protection.

                    I doubt the House of Saud is strongly interested in reestablishing the Caliphate since they would have to pledge fealty to it.

                    Unless the House of Saud delivers the caliph. Which, based on its military potential, would not surprise me or others [jewishvirtuallibrary.org].

                    Al Qaida considers the House of Saud to be bad rulers, not Islamic enough in the right way for their tastes. As a result al Qaida has long been trying to overthrow the Kingdom.

                    Doesn't stop them from being financed now and then [nytimes.com] by the bad rulers [washingtonsblog.com], does it?

              • by c0lo (1497653)

                Ummm... some would say US is happily in bed with such trouble makers.

                I doubt it for these reasons [slashdot.org].

                The Russian government continues to cover the back of the Syrian government as it has for decades.

                Ummm... yeah. Seems that I'm not alone not buying it.
                * Syria strike would turn US into 'al Qaeda's air force' [thehill.com]
                * Obama's obsession with Syria [news24.com]

                Who would benefit from US involvement?
                What does the Saud house have at hand to force US into this conflict and on their side?

          • by AHuxley (892839)
            We are only talking about and adding to what is in the free UK/US press, linking to free sites, not paywalls.
            Is that really so bad of us?
          • by Meski (774546)

            Indeed. The US government wants everyone to talk about current affairs online, so they can easily flag and monitor the trouble-makers.

            Where " trouble-makers" is the set of people trying to use truck bombs, car bombs, and suicide vests, plus various experiments with poison gas and plague [telegraph.co.uk], to kill masses of innocent people, yes.

            Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

            We've certainly 'progressed' since then.

            • Those who would quote Benjamin Franklin without understanding that he opened other American's mail for intelligence purposes, and that George Washington ran a spy ring that operated in the Colonies, aren't likely to get the question of Essential Liberty or Safety correct.

              People in the US have lost no essential liberties.

              • by Meski (774546)
                So you're asserting that because he opened other people's mail, that he's wrong about essential liberty? (perhaps it makes him hypocritical, though) How do you define liberty, then? The right to have your communications read without court sanction?
        • by Meski (774546)

          The US government is all for fundamental freedoms, providing your use of them can be logged, queried at will and used against you later.

          Indeed. The US government wants everyone to talk about current affairs online, so they can easily flag and monitor the trouble-makers.

          The Vietnamese alternative is just so honest.

          Fixed.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:51PM (#44732443)

        The US government is all for fundamental freedoms, providing your use of them can be logged, queried at will and used against you later.

        No, I'm afraid not. Let's go down the amendments one by one and see where we come out:

        First amendment: Freedom of speech and the press.
        The United States has no Journalistic shield law [wikipedia.org]. Basically, if a whistleblower drops of some incriminating government documents, publication can land you in jail. Failing to reveal your source? That's a one-way trip to Guantanamo. Then there's the designated Free Speech Cages [wikipedia.org], surrounded by police, cameras, and barbed wire, and usually located far away from a place where your protect might be visible. Failure to protest within the cage will and you in a different cage. Don't worry -- they pre-construct them for all major events at nearby warehouses.

        The right to bear arms
        In New York [wikipedia.org] and elsewhere... yeah, no. There are so many examples of the constant attempts to remove this or at least regulate it to the point it is effectively removed, I won't provide more examples. Go look them up yourself.

        Not having soldiers quartered in your home
        Yeah... a guy was recently arrested, beaten, and dragged out of his house for refusing to allow the police entry, so they could pitch a tent and enact surveillance of one of his neighbors. The story has since vanished [huffingtonpost.com] off the internet, and very few sites still have any information on it.

        Unlawful search and seizure
        The Department of Homeland Security has granted itself the ability to declare arbitrary constitution-free zones [globalresearch.ca], which cover approximately 80% of the US population -- as most of the population lives within 50 miles of one of the country's borders, and that's one of the areas covered.

        Right not to self-incriminate
        unless of course, the FBI thinks you might have child porn [infosecuri...gazine.com]. ...

        I could go on, but I think you get the point: They're not for all fundamental freedoms... they just want them on paper, but not in reality. Subtle difference.

        • Yeah... a guy was recently arrested, beaten, and dragged out of his house for refusing to allow the police entry, so they could pitch a tent and enact surveillance of one of his neighbors. The story has since vanished [huffingtonpost.com] off the internet, and very few sites still have any information on it.

          When that kind of story disappears off the internet, it's usually because it wasn't very reliable to begin with, and the original source was found to be a liar, or otherwise.

          With a 24-hour news cycle, it's easy to get up in stories and publish them without checking the sources first.

          • by Sabriel (134364) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @04:18PM (#44733013)

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/07/anthony-mitchell-lawsuit-third-amendment-_n_3557431.html [huffingtonpost.com]
            http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/henderson.pdf [wsj.com] - Case 2:13-cv-01154-APG-CWH United States District Court District of Nevada

            19. After Plaintiff ANTHONY MITCHELL refused to allow the police to enter his home, the De-fendant police officers, including Defendants SERGEANT MICHAEL WALLER, OFFICER DAVID CAWTHORN and OFFICER CHRISTOPHER WORLEY, conspired among themselves to force AN-THONY MITCHELL out of his residence and to occupy his home for their own use. Defendant OFFICER DAVID CAWTHORN outlined the Defendants’ plan in his official report:

            It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.

            That's a nice Catch-22 you've created there, Officer. Pity about that pesky Third Amendment (plaintiff is also suing under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments as well).

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:01PM (#44734113)

          The United States has no Journalistic shield law

          Journalistic shield laws are a terrible idea. The freedom to speak and publish is a right shared by everyone. There should not be a special group of government approved "journalists" that have special rights that are denied to other citizens.

          • by AHuxley (892839)
            Yes a few parts of the world added on the need for a university degree to even start out as a journalist.
          • Journalistic shield laws are a terrible idea. The freedom to speak and publish is a right shared by everyone. There should not be a special group of government approved "journalists" that have special rights that are denied to other citizens.

            That sound was the point going over your head. The government isn't establishing a special group of "government approved journalists". Journalistic shield laws allow anyone to publish with the option of keeping their source private. However, only people who regularly publish and have earned a reputation for honestly are likely to be taken seriously... and as a result, people who do regularly publish are greatest at risk for censure from the government.

            J. Random Blogger doesn't have much to worry about if he

      • In Vietnam, government says, "Don't say that shit online!"

        In the Free World, government says, "Go ahead! Say that shit online. We're watching..."

    • by St.Creed (853824) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:29PM (#44732291)

      The US embassy in Hanoi is deeply concerned about the situation in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the Russian embassy is deeply concerned about the situation in the US. Meanwhile, the Turkish embassy was deeply concerned about the situation in Germany. Meanwhile...

      Every government is deeply concerned with the freedoms of someone else's citizens. Even Putin is probably deeply concerned about some foreign citizens somewhere.

      It really breaks my heart to see all our leaders so concerned for the welfare and freedom of citizens that don't live in their own country *sniff*.

      Although I don't think the US embassy is wrong here. This decree is ofcourse a blatant attack on the rights of the Vietnamese people to have a say in how their country is run, which is undesirable as far as the Vietnamese rulers are concerned. The fact they deemed it necessary to actually pronounce this decree, however, gives me great hopes for the future, since laws are mostly made about events that are happening. Even the laws in Hammurabi's codex give great insight of the problems the rulers had in these days with the opposition. And while this decree is a big step backward, it also shows huge trouble brewing for the Vietnamese government.

      • by slick7 (1703596)
        As if the US was concerned about Vietnam when it escalated its presence during the 60's and 70's, while Americans died and are still dying, increasing drug trafficking into the US where more Americans died and are still dying, where corporate America found an easy way to make obscene untaxed profits to the extent that Americans are still fighting wars for profit and dying for their efforts, is this the US you mean?
      • This decree is ofcourse a blatant attack on the rights of the Vietnamese people to have a say in how their country is run

        They don't have a say in how their country is run unless they climb to the top ranks of the party. Sort of like how the US is operated.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:09PM (#44732537)

        Hello, I'm posting this from Vietnam so I can't discuss your comment but I would like to tell you about my family:

        My uncle Acirema pretends to be a generous and liberal man but runs his family with an iron fist, monitoring all his kids activities. Yet he also likes to complain to everyone about how uncle Manteiv doesn't let his kids go out after school or talk to anyone.

        Uncle Manteiv meanwhile says he's doing it for his kids security and points out that aunt Aissur does worse by intercepting her kids emails and changing the content before they're sent out.

        Aunt Aissur herself had to give shelter to one of uncle Acirema's kids who was really scared of being brutally punished after telling his school mates about his dad's snoopings.

        Grandpa Anihc is the best, he also runs his household with an iron fist but readily admits to it.

        I'll be back later to tell you about how uncle Acimera wants to take over aunt Airys' house because she has the best apple trees in town. Of course he can't say that outright so he claims she poured bleach into her kids' soup, although rumor has it that the kids were the ones who tried to poison her instead.

      • by sgt_doom (655561)
        St. Creed obviously has a functioning mind. Such an individual must be immediately hunted down . . . .
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:31PM (#44732313) Journal

      And the US is in a position to be talking about "fundamental freedoms"?

      Depressingly, they do tend to bat above average RE: free speech: The feds are unnervingly interested listeners; but the list of subjects you can't talk about is very short.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:00PM (#44732491)

        Well, you are not allowed to report about the government committing crimes against wiretapping laws, you are not allowed to report about getting "National Security Letters" demanding to wiretap and keylog your entire infrastructure, you are not allowed to publish videos of soldiers having video-game style fun killing unarmed civilians.

        On the plus side, you can lie under oath with impunity to congress without fearing repercussions as long as you are not lying about sex affairs or sports but areas of actual national importance.

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @03:45PM (#44732775) Journal

          Well, you are not allowed to report about the government committing crimes against wiretapping laws, you are not allowed to report about getting "National Security Letters" demanding to wiretap and keylog your entire infrastructure,

          That might not be true. It's in the courts right now, I fully expect it to be overturned.

        • Oh, don't get me wrong: the US 'intelligence community' is rotten to the core, as are its major corporate collaborators, and some theoretically not intelligence agencies [nytimes.com] that have taken on the ugly trappings of one (Is there any aspect of the 'war on drugs' that hasn't been a total clusterfuck for America and Americans, much less some of the poor bastards in countries we don't even pretend to care about?) are in the same boat. The FBI, of course, never really had a non-dangerously-corrupt-and-abusive period
    • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:36PM (#44732343)

      America's leaders just got a massive secret erection at the idea of doing this, themselves.

      The first step, they've been pushing for ages. Control who can become a "journalist". Then license them. Then punish anyone "practicing journalism without a license".

      Oooh gaaaawd! I think they just came!

    • Pot calling kettle black And the US is in a position to be talking about "fundamental freedoms"?

      I think pot is the best explanation for considering that insightful. I don't see how you don't see the difference between the US and Vietnam. Maybe you haven't heard, but communism tends to have a heavy hand [harvard.edu].

    • "And the US is in a position to be talking about "fundamental freedoms"?" to a country whose people it slaughtered while fighting to impose a neo-colonial government?

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      They're only upset about this because the NSA didn't think of it first. Second, if you aren't discussing current events, how are they going to track citizens for abnormal opinions and mark them for additional surveillance?

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Understandably, the US administration is envious that the Vietnamese are so far ahead in online censorship. Expect the US to start the same in 5-10 years.

    • And the US is in a position to be talking about "fundamental freedoms"?

      Sigh. Is there ever going to be a political discussion on Slashdot without someone using the tu quoque fallacy [wikipedia.org]?

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Takes one to know one.

    • by drkim (1559875)

      And the US is in a position to be talking about "fundamental freedoms"?

      Otto: "Shut up. We didn't lose Vietnam. It was a tie!"

      Archie: "I'm tellin' ya baby, they kicked your little ass there. Boy, they whooped yer hide REAL good!"

  • Repeat after me: "fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline"
    • Repeat after me: "fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline"

      Indeed, comrade, we agree and are just moving to harmonize our regulations of the internet with our repressive system of informants and physical surveillance!

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Exactly. Which is to say, you enjoy your fundamental freedoms online and offline at the whim and discretion of the government.

  • Banning everything except for sharing personal information? That's a little backwards
  • by The_Star_Child (2660919) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:24PM (#44732257)
    We should invade Vietnam to teach them a lesson.
    • How about use satellites, or balloons, or drones, to give them free uncensored internet, and let them exercise their unalienable right to liberty regardless of what their government says?

      We could do it in Syria, too. Why aren't we discussing nonviolent options?

    • by Seumas (6865)

      I presume you're being sarcastic, but Vietnam's leading export is crude oil.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How are they supposed to tell people what they're not supposed to talk about?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    .. will hinder the NSA from finding out what's going in Vietnam.

  • There's so many reports of Censorship in Vietnam it basically shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
  • Could the servers be hosted in the US embassy ? that within in vietnam might not be Vietnam soil but

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Most of the worlds telco equipment is/was standardised to help the police and fight/track terrorism.
      Then add in the fast/lower cost deep packet inspection products that are exported from the free "West".
      So the average person in Vietnam would be watched at an internet cafe, have their home internet logged.
      Even if you can use the internet without glowing keywords or visiting blocked sites, its like the US effort, the gov is in your ISP for that first hop out.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:58PM (#44732483) Journal

    We should send in the military to help out those poor oppressed people. Sure, an invasion is excessive and would look bad, but we could certainly send in a few "advisors" under the radar, and see how that goes...

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @02:59PM (#44732489)

    I wonder if this law also prohibits foreigners in Vietnam from posting information about current events (like this new law for instance). I also wonder what kinds of things they will interpret as reducing "national security". Are they going to start shutting down internet cafes now or just require ID in order to use a computer there and introduce mandatory video surveillance etc? It really is too bad that America lost the war there. America had no business being there in the first place but this sort of thing is ugly.

  • Would rather do business with Communist than in our own trickle down economy.
  • ... with evil leaders of Vietnam who are not representing the Vietnamese people at all.

  • I think the US should send thousands of troops to 'Nam to ensure freedom and liberty. It worked last time, didn't it.... :-P

    • Well, according to a troll upthread, we supposedly won, so sure, why not -- we could even tweak the draft rules to say that only STEM majors will be exempt, thus fixing the shortage of STEM workers by 'encouraging' a whole generation to major in it! /tongue-in-cheek

  • Is this a new tag? I've never seen before, but I definitely approve.

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @05:52PM (#44733611)

    Do you speak it?

    The law itself is not "online." Perhaps it is by a matter of incidence (it is likely published online, on a government website), but not inheritance; and surely not what you meant by your choice of phrasing.

    It is categorically an idea, not a physical noun, and therefore, cannot be contained within something. It certainly can't be entirely contained "online."

    The title should be: Law Banning Online Discussion of Current Affairs Comes into Effect.

    Phrasing is important. Words mean shit.

  • Criticism of Dear Leader is of course, treason. All Hail Barry.

  • . . .does this mean the American-based multinationals will halt the offshoring of jobs to that totalitarian paradise?

    Oops! Sorry, forgot they LOVE such countries!
  • Fundamental freedoms? Like the freedom for your personal correspondance to be captured and scrutinized, without your knowledge, as if you were presumed to be guilty, regardless of whether you actually are American or not? That fundamental freedom?

    Whether you are forbidden to speak or your speech is watched for unstated transgressions, it amounts to the same infringement. At least the Vietnamese government has provided a warning and some direction as to what is acceptable.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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