Vietnam reinforces internet censorship

Vietnam reinforces internet censorship

How to avoid internet censorship in Vietnam?

Vietnam is among the top ten countries where cyber censorship and internet filtering is the highest in the world.

Internet penetration grew from 48 to 53 percent in 2015, according to an International Telecommunication Union estimate.

While internet access is limited to population living in rural areas, with ethnic minorities and remote, impoverished communities especially disadvantaged. But 95 percent of citizens aged 15 to 24 nationwide have some degree of internet access.

Internet penetration in cities is quite high, especially among urban youth, due to low cost and high availability in semi-public spaces. But speed is low and investment is needed to improve speed. Plus the infrastructure is vulnerable to physical damage. The telecom market is dominated by a few players and most of them state-owned, lacking fairness and autonomy according international standards.

The three biggest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are VNPT, which controls 51 % of the market; Viettel (40 %); and the private FPT (6 %).Although any firm is allowed to set up an ISP, informal barriers prevent new companies without political ties or economic clout from disrupting the market

Political content on a range of sensitive topics is restricted online in Vietnamese and for the last 5 years ban on content and internet blockage and filtering has increased quite much. The government has passed indeed various decrees to enhance cyber censorship in Vietnam.

In 2013, decree 72 has been issued, reinforcing internet censorship in Vietnam. It bans the fact to share information or make comments related to the news or politics on Internet, on such tools such as Facebook and Twitter. It led to the ban of Facebook and Twitter in Vietnam. It implied that users can not use blogs or social networks to discuss about news. Vietnamese can not therefore use sites such as Facebook or Twitter “to provide and exchange personal information.” Even China has never gone so far in its efforts to regulate the internet.

Circular 09, which was issued in October 2014, requires website owners to immediately take down content at the request of authorities, resulting in increased self-censorship.

Decree 174, since it was implemented in 2015, has been widely used during the coverage of government criticism on online media. Besides, Circular 09, issued in October 2014, requires website owners to respond immediately to authority’s request to erase content resulting in increased self-censorship.

Access to Facebook and Instagram appears has been interrupted for a couple of days after hundreds of people protested against an environmental disaster in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in May 2016.

With less resources devoted to online content control than in China, the Vietnamese authorities have been able to establish an effective content filtering system though.

How does Vietnam internet censorship work?

Censorship is implemented by ISPs rather than at the backbone or international gateway level.

Given URLs are generally identified for censorship and set on blacklists. Censorship targets indeed high-profile blogs or websites with many followers, as well as content considered threatening to Communist Party rule, including political dissent, human rights and democracy, and also websites criticizing the government’s reaction to border and sea disputes with China.

The ISPs use various techniques to inform customers of their compliance with blocking orders. Some ISPs notify users when an inaccessible site has been deliberately blocked, others have decided to post a somehow simple error message.

Vietnam ranks 172nd (out of 179 countries) in the last index of press freedom established by RSF which considers Vietnam as one the main enemies of the internet.

How to use unblocked Facebook?

To avoid Internet censorship in Vietnam, use a VPN service which allows you to choose your country connection.

Le VPN is the best VPN to bypass censorship. Whether you live in Vietnam or elsewhere, you can choose to base your connection in one of the 100+ countries where access is not restricted. You can then access the sites of your choice anonymously, without incurring any censorship or its reprisals. Choose to use a VPN service today and enjoy Le VPN to surf safely!

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