Vietnam Passes Sweeping New
June 12, 2018
Vietnamese lawmakers have
approved a new cybersecurity law that human rights activists say
will stifle freedom of speech.
The law will require online content providers such as Google and
Facebook to remove content deemed offensive by authorities
within 24 hours, and store the personal data of its customers on
servers based in Vietnam, and to open offices in the
Clare Agar, Amnesty International's director of global
operations, issued a statement denouncing Tuesday's passage of
the law. Agar said "the online space was a relative refuge"
within Vietnam's "deeply repressive climate" where people could
go to share ideas and opinions "with less fear of censure by the
The new law now means "there is no safe place left," Agar said.
United States and Canada urged Vietnam to delay passage of the
bill, citing concerns it could pose "obstacles to Vietnam's
cybersecurity and digital innovation future."
The Vietnam Digital Communication Association says the law could
reduce the country's gross domestic product by 1.7 percent, and
wipe out 3.1 percent of foreign investment.
Vo Trong Viet, the head of the government's defense and security
committee, acknowledged that requiring content providers to open
data centers inside Vietnam would increase their costs, but said
it was necessary ensure the country's cybersecurity.
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