Vietnamese Authorities Require 'Green Dam' Monitoring Software Throughout Hanoi

Jun 04, 2010, 13:16 ET from Viet Tan

WASHINGTON, June 4, /PRNewswire/ -- The People's Committee of Hanoi has required monitoring software to be installed on computers at all internet cafes, hotels and other establishments in the capital city.

According to Decision No. 15/2010/QD-UBND, businesses have ten days to adopt the new internet restrictions which were announced on April 26, 2010. An English translation of this order is available at

Decision 15 applies to internet cafes and "all organizations and individuals that are owners of hotels, restaurants, offices, airports, [and] bus stations…when providing internet service to consumers at the locations stated above" regardless of whether a fee is charged.

In addition to the "Green Dam" monitoring software, entities providing internet services must ensure that users abide by Decree No. 97 issued by the Prime Minister on August 28, 2008. This directive forbids "abusing the internet" to oppose the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, disclosing national secrets or providing so-called distorted information.

Under the new Decision 15, all "organizations and individuals involved in managing, providing, and using internet services at retail locations in Hanoi City" are subject to inspections by authorities to ensure implementation of the monitoring software and adherence to Decree No. 97.

This new policy is the latest effort by the Vietnamese government to stifle free expression online. Within the last year, authorities have ordered local ISPs to block access to Facebook and other social networking sites; detained dozens of bloggers; and launched sophisticated hacker attacks against opposition websites and internet users based in the U.S. and Europe. Viet Tan recently released a report titled "Cyberattacks by the Vietnamese Government."

The worsening internet restrictions are not only a human rights problem but also a major impediment to Vietnam's socio-economic development. Viet Tan encourages a civil disobedience campaign among Vietnamese internet users to circumvent censorship and access free information.

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