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Thayer Vietnam's Draft Decree on Internet Management

Thayer Vietnam's Draft Decree on Internet Management

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
An analysis of a draft Decree on internet management drawn up by the Ministry of Information and Communications in terms of its impact on peaceful public expression over the internet and aspects that will affect the free flow of data and thus become barriers to trade with implications for US-Vietnam negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
An analysis of a draft Decree on internet management drawn up by the Ministry of Information and Communications in terms of its impact on peaceful public expression over the internet and aspects that will affect the free flow of data and thus become barriers to trade with implications for US-Vietnam negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Apr 18, 2012
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07/05/2013

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Background Briefing:Vietnam: Draft Decree onInternet Imposes New ControlsCarlyle A. ThayerApril 17, 2012
[client
 
name
 
deleted]
 
1.
 
Regarding
 
the
 
new
 
draft
 
decree
 
on
 
the
 
internet
 
in
 
Vietnam:
 
is
 
this
 
a
 
move
 
to
 
censor
 
the
 
internet?
 
Do
 
you
 
think
 
it
 
is
 
likely
 
to
 
pass?
 
ANSWER:
 
The
 
draft
 
Decree
 
is
 
another
 
step
 
in
 
tightening
 
the
 
vise
 
of 
 
censorship
 
and
 
control
 
of 
 
the
 
Internet
 
in
 
Vietnam
 
by
 
the
 
Ministry
 
of 
 
Information
 
and
 
Communications.
 
It
 
is
 
now
 
being
 
circulated
 
for
 
public
 
comment.
 
There
 
may
 
be
 
sight
 
amendments
 
but
 
my
 
assessment
 
is
 
that
 
it
 
will
 
be
 
promulgated
 
relatively
 
unchanged
 
in
 
June.
 
2.
 
What
 
do
 
you
 
make
 
of 
 
it?
 
ANSWER:
 
The
 
draft
 
Decree
 
is
 
an
 
attempt
 
to
 
catch
 
up
 
with
 
evolving
 
technology.
 
The
 
Decree
 
represents
 
new
 
restrictions
 
not
 
so
 
much
 
in
 
substance
 
but
 
in
 
kind.
 
It
 
sets
 
out
 
detailed
 
measures
 
that
 
individuals,
 
commercial
 
firms
 
and
 
service
 
providers
 
much
 
comply
 
with.
 
Individuals
 
would
 
also
 
be
 
forced
 
to
 
reveal
 
their
 
real
 
names
 
if 
 
they
 
use
 
pseudonyms.
 
Article
 
7
 
of 
 
the
 
draft
 
Decree
 
is
 
key.
 
It
 
repeats
 
previous
 
myriad
 
restrictions
 
embodied
 
in
 
Vietnamese
 
laws
 
and
 
Government
 
decrees
 
and
 
repackages
 
them
 
to
 
tie
 
these
 
restrictions
 
directly
 
to
 
the
 
use
 
of 
 
the
 
Internet
 
(i.e.,
 
electronic
 
transmission)
 
by
 
individual
 
customers,
 
organizations,
 
service
 
providers
 
and
 
government
 
agencies.
 
3.
 
What
 
do
 
you
 
think
 
as
 
prompted
 
the
 
government
 
to
 
act
 
now?
 
ANSWER:
 
There
 
are
 
three
 
reasons
 
which
 
may
 
explain
 
the
 
release
 
of 
 
this
 
draft
 
Decree.
 
First,
 
this
 
draft
 
Decree
 
is
 
the
 
latest
 
evolution
 
in
 
Internet
 
restrictions
 
imposed
 
by
 
the
 
Ministry
 
of 
 
Information
 
and
 
Communications.
 
Vietnamese
 
government
 
officials
 
do
 
not
 
want
 
to
 
loose
 
their
 
ability
 
to
 
control
 
information
 
and
 
public
 
expression.
 
This
 
draft
 
Decree
 
is
 
an
 
attempt
 
to
 
keep
 
up
 
with
 
the
 
times.
 
Second,
 
the
 
draft
 
Decree
 
is
 
prompted
 
by
 
concern
 
over
 
the
 
use
 
of 
 
the
 
Internet
 
by
 
political
 
activists,
 
social
 
commentators,
 
and
 
bloggers
 
who
 
have
 
freely
 
expressed
 
their
 
views.
 
One
 
main
 
concern
 
is
 
the
 
linkage
 
between
 
domestic
 
commentary
 
and
 
foreign
 
policy.
 
As
 
tensions
 
with
 
China
 
over
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea
 
have
 
prompted
 
Vietnam
 
to
 
step
 
up
 
strategic
 
and
 
defence
 
cooperation
 
with
 
the
 
United
 
States.
 
Vietnam
 
and
 
the
 
United
 
States
 
are
 
negotiating
 
an
 
agreement
 
on
 
strategic
 
partnership.
 
This
 
year,
 
if 
 
past
 
protocol
 
of 
 
exchanging
 
visits
 
by
 
defense
 
ministers
 
every
 
three
 
years
 
is
 
observed,
 
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123
 
2
Secretary
 
Leon
 
Panetta
 
should
 
be
 
visiting
 
Hanoi.
 
No
 
doubt
 
the
 
U.S.
 
elections
 
in
 
November
 
have
 
added
 
pressure
 
to
 
reach
 
agreement
 
and
 
host
 
a
 
visit
 
sooner
 
rather
 
than
 
later.
 
Some
 
party
 
ultra
conservatives
 
are
 
leery
 
about
 
“peaceful
 
evolution”
 
and
 
its
 
impact
 
on
 
domestic
 
politics
 
as
 
well
 
as
 
relations
 
with
 
China.
 
The
 
draft
 
Decree
 
would
 
tighten
 
the
 
screw
 
on
 
internal
 
dissidents
 
and
 
severely
 
restrict
 
their
 
activities
 
by
 
making
 
them
 
as
 
well
 
as
 
commercial
 
service
 
providers
 
responsible
 
for
 
material
 
broadcast
 
or
 
stored
 
on
 
the
 
Internet.
 
Third,
 
the
 
draft
 
Decree
 
has
 
no
 
doubt
 
been
 
drawn
 
up
 
with
 
an
 
eye
 
on
 
Trans
Pacific
 
Partnership
 
(TPP)
 
negotiations
 
with
 
the
 
United
 
States.
 
In
 
this
 
sense
 
it
 
may
 
be
 
viewed
 
as
 
a
 
pre
emptive
 
move
 
to
 
get
 
a
 
Decree
 
on
 
the
 
books
 
before
 
TPP
 
negotiations
 
are
 
finalized.
 
The
 
draft
 
Decree
 
aims
 
to
 
assert
 
control
 
over
 
foreign
 
enterprises
 
providing
 
Internet
 
services
 
to
 
Vietnam
 
even
 
to
 
the
 
extent
 
of 
 
requiring
 
them
 
to
 
open
 
representative
 
offices
 
in
 
Vietnam.
 
Foreign
 
companies
 
would
 
be
 
forced
 
under
 
this
 
Decree
 
to
 
co
operate
 
in
 
censorship
 
by
 
installing
 
firewalls
 
and
 
other
 
monitoring
 
technology,
 
report
 
violations
 
of 
 
Article
 
7
 
to
 
Government
 
authorities,
 
and
 
disclose
 
information
 
on
 
customers.
 
Foreign
 
companies
 
would
 
be
 
required
 
to
 
provide
 
the
 
name
 
of 
 
their
 
officers
 
who
 
have
 
responsibility
 
for
 
applying
 
this
 
Decree
 
in
 
their
 
daily
 
operations.
 
In
 
other
 
word,
 
by
 
requiring
 
representative
 
offices
 
to
 
be
 
set
 
up
 
in
 
Vietnam,
 
Vietnamese
 
security
 
authorities
 
would
 
be
 
able
 
to
 
gain
 
physical
 
access
 
to
 
these
 
individuals
 
and
 
apprehend
 
them
 
if 
 
necessary.
 
4.
 
It
 
is
 
expected
 
that
 
another
 
piece
 
of 
 
legislation
 
requiring
 
pay
TV
 
channels
 
to
 
provide
 
Vietnamese
 
subtitles
 
will
 
come
 
into
 
effect
 
in
 
May.
 
Is
 
the
 
government
 
getting
 
tighter
 
on
 
newa
 
media?
 
If 
 
so,
 
again
 
why
 
now?
 
ANSWER:
 
There
 
are
 
two
 
aspects
 
of 
 
requiring
 
pay
TV
 
channels
 
to
 
provide
 
Vietnamese
 
subtitles.
 
The
 
first
 
is
 
cultural
ideological
 
and
 
relates
 
to
 
the
 
party’s
 
view
 
of 
 
Vietnamese
 
national
 
identity.
 
Approved
 
foreign
 
films
 
with
 
Vietnamese
 
subtitles
 
would
 
be
 
more
 
accessible
 
to
 
a
 
wider
 
audience.
 
Second,
 
this
 
requirement
 
is
 
also
 
designed
 
as
 
a
 
trade
 
barrier
 
to
 
protect
 
Vietnam’s
 
domestic
 
TV
movie
 
industry
 
and
 
to
 
add
 
costs
 
to
 
the
 
importation
 
of 
 
foreign
 
language
 
material.
 
When
 
Vietnam
 
first
 
announced
 
doi
 
moi
 
the
 
then
 
party
 
secretary
 
general
 
warned
 
that
 
if 
 
you
 
opened
 
the
 
windows
 
flies
 
and
 
mosquitoes
 
would
 
fly
 
in.
 
The
 
same
 
applies
 
today.
 
Vietnam’s
 
eleventh
 
party
 
congress
 
set
 
the
 
goal
 
of 
 
“proactively
 
integration”
 
with
 
the
 
global
 
economy.
 
This
 
means
 
that
 
the
 
ultra
 
conservative
 
guardians
 
of 
 
Vietnamese
 
ideology
 
and
 
culture
 
must
 
redouble
 
their
 
efforts
 
to
 
insulate
 
Vietnam
 
from
 
foreign
 
negative
 
phenomena.
 
 
 
Background Briefing:Vietnam’s Draft Decree onInternet ManagementCarlyle A. ThayerApril 17, 2012
[client name deleted]
1.
 
To
 
what
 
degree
 
does
 
this
 
decree
 
appear
 
to
 
 just
 
put
 
in
 
black
 
and
 
white
 
a
 
lost
 
of 
 
existing
 
restrictions?
 
For
 
example,
 
Article
 
7
 
lays
 
out
 
a
 
host
 
of 
 
prohibitions
 
of 
 
Internet
 
content,
 
but
 
I’m
 
not
 
sure
 
whether
 
these
 
really
 
represent
 
new
 
restrictions.
 
Article
 
14
 
talks
 
about
 
creating
 
a
 
national
 
“Internet
 
transit
 
station,”
 
and
 
I’m
 
curious
 
to
 
know
 
whether
 
this
 
is
 
something
 
that
 
already
 
exists.
 
ANSWER:
 
Article
 
7
 
repeats
 
previous
 
restrictions
 
embodied
 
in
 
various
 
Vietnamese
 
laws
 
and
 
Government
 
decrees
 
[see
 
excerpts
 
below].
 
It
 
also
 
repackages
 
them
 
to
 
tie
 
these
 
restrictions
 
directly
 
to
 
the
 
use
 
of 
 
the
 
Internet
 
(i.e.,
 
electronic
 
transmission)
 
by
 
individual
 
customers,
 
organizations,
 
service
 
providers
 
and
 
government
 
agencies.
 
In
 
other
 
words,
 
the
 
Decree
 
is
 
an
 
attempt
 
to
 
catch
 
up
 
with
 
evolving
 
technology.
 
The
 
Decree
 
represents
 
new
 
restrictions
 
not
 
so
 
much
 
in
 
substance
 
but
 
in
 
kind
setting
 
out
 
detailed
 
measures
 
that
 
commercial
 
firms
 
and
 
service
 
providers
 
much
 
comply
 
with.
 
Individuals
 
would
 
also
 
be
 
forced
 
to
 
reveal
 
their
 
real
 
names
 
if 
 
they
 
use
 
pseudonyms.
 
Regarding
 
Article
 
14
 
and
 
its
 
reference
 
to
 
the
 
National
 
Internet
 
Transit
 
Station.
 
Vietnam:
 
Vietnam
 
first
 
formed
 
a
 
VNIX
 
in
 
Hanoi
 
in
 
November
 
2003
 
and
 
a
 
second
 
VNIX
 
in
 
Ho
 
Chi
 
Minh
 
City
 
in
 
March
 
2004.
 
Article
 
14
 
is
 
mainly
 
focused
 
on
 
commerce
 
and
 
revenue
 
earning
 
for
 
Government
 
authorities.
 
2.
 
What
 
might
 
his
 
decree
 
mean
 
for
 
the
 
on
going
 
Trans
Pacific
 
Partnership
 
trade
 
talks,
 
in
 
which
 
the
 
U.S.
 
is
 
trying
 
to
 
create
 
new
 
standards
 
of 
 
he
 
“free
 
flow”
 
of 
 
data?
 
Does
 
this
 
appear
 
to
 
signal
 
that
 
Vietnam
 
is
 
plainly
 
against
 
this
 
approach?
 
ANSWER:
 
This
 
draft
 
Decree
 
has
 
no
 
doubt
 
been
 
drafted
 
with
 
an
 
eye
 
on
 
TPP
 
negotiations
 
with
 
the
 
United
 
States.
 
It
 
aims
 
to
 
assert
 
control
 
over
 
foreign
 
enterprises
 
providing
 
a
 
variety
 
of 
 
Internet
 
services
 
to
 
Vietnam
 
even
 
to
 
the
 
extent
 
of 
 
requiring
 
them
 
to
 
open
 
representative
 
offices
 
in
 
Vietnam.
 
Foreign
 
companies
 
would
 
be
 
forced
 
under
 
this
 
Decree
 
to
 
co
operate
 
in
 
censorship
 
by
 
installing
 
firewalls
 
and
 
other
 
monitoring
 
technology,
 
report
 
violations
 
of 
 
Article
 
7
 
to
 
Government
 
authorities,
 
and
 
disclose
 
information
 
on
 
customers.
 
Foreign
 
companies
 
would
 
be
 
required
 
to
 
provide
 
the
 
name
 
of 
 
their
 
officers
 
who
 
have
 
responsibility
 
for
 
applying
 
this
 
Decree
 
in
 
their
 
daily
 
operations.
 
In
 
other
 
word,
 
by
 
requiring
 
representative
 
offices
 
to
 
be
 
set
 
up
 
in
 
Vietnam,
 
Vietnamese
 
security
 
authorities
 
would
 
be
 
able
 
to
 
gain
 
physical
 
access
 
to
 
these
 
individuals
 
and
 
apprehend
 
them
 
if 
 
necessary.
 
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

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This revision contains responses to queries about the role of Internet restrictions in Vietnam on educational cooperation between Vietnam and American universities (revised May 6, 2012).

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