Vietnam's new law restricts freedom of expression and privacy on the Internet

Vietnam's new law restricts freedom of expression and privacy on the Internet

We express our grave concern regarding the new cybersecurity law that was passed on June 12th by the Vietnamese National Assembly. The law curbs freedom of expression and the right to privacy and private correspondence and it should enter into force in January 2019. More than 40,000 people have signed a petition against its adoption.

The cybersecurity law requires internet service providers to verify the identity of internet users and to transfer the personal data of these users to the Vietnamese authorities. This violates the right to privacy, including the right to a privacy of correspondence enshrined in the Vietnamese Constitution from 2013 (Article 21).

The law also requires the service providers to erase and block all information that is seen as "harmful" or "toxic", with these labels being defined by the opaque standards dictated by the government institutions. This precludes the freedom of speech, also guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution (Article 25). Internet service providers will also be obligated to prevent access to internet services and communication to individuals who publish "harmful" content online.

The new law is not only in contradiction with the Vietnamese Constitution, but also contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It serves as another tool for silencing critical voices and controlling information that differs from the official doctrine of the Vietnamese Communist regime.

For more information about the issue, contact Zuzana Gruberová, Media Coordinator, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, People in Need, zuzana.gruberova@peopleinneed.cz, +420 770 101 144

Author: PIN