Viet Nam: New Cybersecurity law a devastating blow for freedom of expression

With the sweeping powers it grants the government to monitor online activity, this vote means there is now no safe place left in Viet Nam for people to speak freely.
Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Operations

Reacting to the news that Viet Nam’s National Assembly has voted to pass a deeply repressive new cybersecurity law which grants the government sweeping powers to limit online freedom, Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Operations said:

“This decision has potentially devastating consequences for freedom of expression in Viet Nam. In the country’s deeply repressive climate, the online space was a relative refuge where people could go to share ideas and opinions with less fear of censure by the authorities.

“With the sweeping powers it grants the government to monitor online activity, this vote means there is now no safe place left in Viet Nam for people to speak freely.

“This law can only work if tech companies cooperate with government demands to hand over private data. These companies must not be party to human rights abuses, and we urge them to use the considerable power they have at their disposal to challenge Viet Nam’s government on this regressive legislation.”

Background

Viet Nam’s new Cybersecurity Law gives broad new powers to the Vietnamese authorities, allowing them to force technology companies to hand over potentially vast amounts of data, including personal information, and to censor users’ posts.

Amnesty International has written a letter to the chief executive officers of Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft and to the chairman of Samsung outlining its concerns on the law and urging the companies to exert pressure on Vietnam’s government.