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.