Activists worry about a new ‘Green Dam’ in Vietnam (Network World)

Activists worry that new software mandated for Hanoi ISPs could operate like China’s Green Dam
By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service
June 04, 2010 08:22 PM ET

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.

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Under the new rules, domain servers must install a copy of the “Internet Service Retailers Management Software,” the regulations state.

Nobody quite knows what the software is, but activists in the U.S. 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.

“There are now 25 million Vietnamese online and the government is afraid that the people have a venue that is relatively free of censorship where they can exchange their views,” said Duy Hoang, a spokesman with Viet Tan, a pro-democracy political party that is critical of the Vietnamese government. “The government doesn’t want independent sources of information,” he said.

“This recent move by the Hanoi authorities is definitely an obstacle toward Vietnamese people using the Internet,” Hoang added. He worries that the government-mandated software will be similar to China’s Green Dam censorware.


5 comments on “Activists worry about a new ‘Green Dam’ in Vietnam (Network World)”

  1. Damon

    Exactly how is Duy Hoang a relevant source in this article. He is in no way connected to the Vietnamese government, he offers no inside information, or anything other than personal opinion, which given his status, would have to be negative to the government of Vietnam, and is by definition biased. Further more he is not a service provider and not directly affected in anyway by this decision.

    Finally, all of his concerns are moot because the current Vietnamese government has never written a piece of software that can run on Linux, and most web hosting, routing, and email is still done on Linux or Unix servers. If you’re hosting on Windows, and the Vietnamese government tells you to install some software on your Windows server, you deserve it.

  2. Duong

    I know nothing about computers but i would asume that communist/dictatorship countries like Vietnam, there is a “braindrain” about technology. How can the Vietnamese goverment successfully monitor the internet over Vietnam? How do they get the technical knowhow? Chinese universities are highly rated, i’m sure some are in the top 20 of the world but Vietnam? Damon has a good point. Who writes those software?

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