MINDS’ CEO: Protect Free Speech, Will Only Respond to U.S Subpoenas By: @phamdoantrang In the past few days, thousands of social media users in #Vietnam have relocated to #Minds. At the same time, debates erupted where people questioned Minds’ technology, policies, and even the possibilities that Minds would cooperate with the Vietnamese authorities in the future to “sell out” its users. Luật Khoa magazine (@luatkhoa) had conducted this interview with Bill Ottman (@Ottman) – CEO and co-founder of Minds in response to the concerns mentioned above from the Vietnamese social media community. We are providing our readers with the English version of the interview here. *** Before this “exodus” of Vietnamese Internet users to Minds, what do you know about Vietnam? (the regime, the economy, the market, human rights situations, etc.) Vietnam is a beautiful country but unfortunately run by the Socialist Republic, a communist regime with overreaching power. I studied the Vietnam War pretty extensively and the anti-war movement in the US. I would very much like to learn more about Vietnam Pham Doan Trang, and it would be great to have a live conversation or stream together to discuss your perception of the country, both negatives and positives. What do you think of the newly-adopted cybersecurity law in Vietnam? I know that the law has disastrous implications for free speech and privacy. It gives the government excessive power to deem certain content ‘prohibited’, thus the ability to become a censorship machine. The law should be taken away before it goes into effect in 2019. It is destined to fail. What is Minds’ policy toward customers’ privacy rights? Please refer to our recent essay on how we protect user privacy. We are 100% committed to privacy. It is our core philosophy. Principles like ‘zero-knowledge’, end-to-end encryption and decentralization are all crucial for human rights. Our terms state that we comply with US law. If it is legal in the US it can be on Minds. We will not hand over user information to foreign governments or censor based on requests. What is Minds’ policy toward the balance between privacy rights and “public security” as the police in authoritarian societies put it? Public security is an Orwellian phrase similar to National Security. More privacy and encryption make a nation more secure, not less. More freedom of expression causes a healthy society, not less. Disinformation and propaganda are problems, but research shows that censorship makes these problems even worse. I recently wrote an article about this evidence. This has been proven by top cryptologists and cyber-security experts for a long time like Bruce Schneier and EFF. What is your opinion regarding the need to balance the people’s human rights and the state’s efforts against terrorism (both real threats and some imaginable threats)? Our general policy is that we require a warrant or equally compelled court order. Our general opinion is not to sacrifice freedom for safety because then we will have neither as Benjamin Franklin said. How can we, the Vietnamese Mindsers, as a newly-formed (and maybe, quite small now) community be sure that Minds will fight for our Internet freedom rather than cooperate with the tyrannical government? Continually ask questions, communicate with our team about concerns and hold us accountable! Inspect our code and have your developers help us make it more secure and uncensorable. We heard a lot about the technologies that Minds has been using. Is it true that Minds has been using decentralized, encrypted, and blockchain technologies? If yes, please describe them a little so that we the users learn more about your strength. If no, could you please tell me the difference(s) between Minds and Facebook? Yes, we are constantly working to become more decentralized which is why we are currently leveraging technologies like Ethereum and Webtorrent. We will be focusing much more on decentralization and p2p in the future. Facebook is plagued by surveillance, secrecy (proprietary software), manipulative algorithms, data scandals, demonetization, censorship and psychological abuse. Minds does the opposite. Regarding blockchain, it seems like Minds is now using it only for Token-related activities. Is that right? Yes. We use an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. Our whitepaper discusses how we publish a variety of transactions to smart contracts for our Boost and Wire products. We have an extensive reward system where top contributors earn tokens and can then use the tokens to “Boost” content for more views. Right now 1 token gives 1,000 extra views on the content of your choice. We built this in reaction to the suppressive algorithms on facebook which diminish your organic reach and voice. It is a soft form of censorship. Minds will always have 100% organic reach and reward users with more of a voice for participation. The reward system specs can be found here. Sorry for asking what seems like a silly question, but why did Minds create the Tokens system? What do you anticipate it to be? We created the token in order to reward users for the contributions to the network and move the ad network (consent-based) and peer-to-peer payment and crowdfunding systems to smart contracts on the blockchain. We also created it to battle the restrictive algorithms that have caused organic reach to drop so much on facebook. 1 token currently rewards a user with 1,000 extra impressions on their content by pressing the boost button on their post. We believe people’s voices should be amplified, not silenced. Expanded, not exploited. We saw a paragraph in Minds’ privacy policy which states that Minds “discloses potentially personally identifying and personally-identifying information only in response to a subpoena, court order or OTHER GOVERNMENTAL REQUEST [capital mine], or when Minds believes in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of Minds, third parties or the public at large.” We are quite concerned about this because it implies that we the users can still have our personal information accessed by the government while the current Vietnamese government is a single-party, police-dominated one. What do you think? This does not apply to the Vietnamese government, and we will not hand over personal information to them. We will discuss with our legal team to potentially clarify this language. Essentially, we are founded upon the idea of free expression, and as you will quickly learn, Minds is more uncensored than any other network you will find. Is it true that Minds receives some support from the Anonymous? Yes, because we allow anonymous accounts. Though anonymous is a decentralized, leaderless group, so it has many branches and I would not want to speak for them all. I imagine not all support us, but some definitely do. We only endorse ethical hacking, as a side-note. What does Minds expect from Vietnam, or the community of Vietnamese Minders to be exact? We hope more thought leaders and netizens will continue to migrate to Minds for Internet freedom. We are dedicated to constantly evolving and improving the platform based on your feedback. This is why we are 100% open source. The best way to build the freedom network of the future is for influencers to use our tools like blogs, videos, posting, groups, wallet, tokens and bring their audiences over. Do you think of setting up a representative office in Vietnam and/or providing a Vietnamese version of Minds for the Vietnamese people? (English is not our second language, so most people may find it difficult to use Minds in English). Yes, this (the Vietnamese version) will be live within a couple of weeks. 🙂 Maybe sooner. What is Minds’ strategy regarding China and Asia, Vietnam included and also your worldwide strategy? Our strategy is to stick to our principles, continue building better tools and hopefully continue to connect with thought leaders all throughout Asia who can help migrate their audiences off of surveillance platforms. Can you tell us a bit more about your internet activism? I have been involved in alternative media, freedom of information and privacy activism for about a decade. To me, extreme transparency, open source philosophy, end-to-end encryption and digital rights are crucial for a free society. I helped start organizations on Facebook with millions of followers, but after Facebook’s algorithm and policies got so invasive, it was time to #deletefacebook. What is your opinion regarding the trend of large corporations acting in concert with the state/government to become one unified threat to the people’s rights in places like Vietnam? This is an unacceptable trend when the line between global corporation and government merges. The people need to activate on other social networks in order to disempower the corrupt corporations and empower emerging, ethical alternatives.
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"Undeniably, his trial and conviction again delineate the inefficient and broken legal system in Vietnam where people can be charged, tried, and convicted of crimes with no evidence to prove the required elements of the crime. How many more cases like that of Bùi Hữu Tuân's can Vietnam afford before serious efforts to reform its legal and political systems will take place?"
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About two months after his trial, Nguyễn Văn Đài and his wife, along with his assistant and co-defendant, Lê Thu Hà, were quietly expelled from the country to Germany where the three now live in exile. It is not the first time political prisoners got expelled from Vietnam while serving their sentences, raising concerns that the regime is using them as pawns with Western countries in exchange for economic gains. The trial of Nguyễn Văn Đài and others gives us a glimpse of how online blogging could be used against individuals in Vietnam and why the government must pass the Cybersecurity law, even though mass protests broke out across the country partly because of it. *** While carrying capital punishment as the maximum sentence, Article 79 however, utterly lacks a clear, well-defined description of conducts which would constitute a person’s criminal liability, and as such, making it impossible for people to cry out mea culpa. The law only states that “a person conducting activities to form or participate in any organization to overthrow the people’s government shall be punished as follows,” and then immediately dwells into specifying the sentencing guidelines from twelve years, twenty years, life imprisonment, up to the death sentence for the main perpetrator, and five to fifteen years for those who act as accomplices. Because of this ambiguity per se in its language, Article 79 had faced strong criticism from the international community over the years, especially during the last Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2014. Critics continue pointing out, that along with Articles 88 and 258 of the Penal Code, the government has used these criminal provisions almost exclusively against political dissidents and pro-democracy activists, taking advantage of the vague language of these codes to criminalize peaceful protests and suppress political dissent. Facing such international pressure during the 2014 UPR, Vietnam agreed to amend Article 79, and they did, in 2015. However, except for some minor, cosmetic changes such as the number of the code section from 79 to 109, and adding a category for those who are “preparing to commit the crime” with the punishment ranging from one to five years imprisonment, the remaining of the “new” Article 109 is taken verbatim from Article 79. In short, we still have to look to actual cases to define which conducts would constitute the crime of “overthrowing the people’s government” in Vietnam, and in Đài’s case, such conducts would be: “Opening an office, having a website to operate, developing a ‘shortening manifesto’, having a structured organization, having internal and external affairs strategy, operating to increase membership, capacity, …; abusing the right to promote ‘democracy, human rights,’ ‘civil society’ to conceal the objectives of the Brotherhood for Democracy … waiting for the appropriate timing to openly operate in opposition of the government through changing the political structure in Vietnam, developing ‘pluralism with multiple parties’ and a government with ‘separation of powers’ to overthrow the people’s government while using a private sector economy as its basis.”
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We wrote about the danger of Vietnam's Cybersecurity law back in November 2017, comparing it to that of China's. 1. Two documents, one technical term There is one technical term in the Vietnamese Draft Law that one should pay close attention to, which is the “critical information system regarding national security” in Article 9. In the China’s version, there is a similar technical term: “critical information infrastructure” in Article 31. Both laws centered on these two technical terms, and their definitions are also very much alike. Both are used to define any information, that if being under attack, they would bring harms to national security, social order and public safety. That information – as mentioned in both Vietnam’s and China’s Cybersecurity Law – would then include energy, finance, transportation, media, and publications, as well as electronic governance. However, the Draft Law of Vietnam also includes military-security, national secrets, banking, natural resources and environment, chemicals, medicine, and other national security structures. The Draft Law also does not distinguish between private companies and government agencies when applying the concept of “critical information system regarding national security”. Based on the context of said law’s wordings, the targeted entities are implied to be both of them. The government and the enforcing authorities could also interpret this law as broad as possible. Baker & McKenzie, in their analysis of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law, has warned all companies whose may have established relationships with those entities which fall under the regulatory perimeters of said law, that this law could very well be applicable to them. The agencies and enterprises who are within the application of this law shall abide the technical measures and regulations as set by the government, and submit themselves to be under the direct control and observation of the MPS. They will have to obtain all necessary business permits to operate and maintain their equipment while at the same time, must cooperate with the authorities in monitoring users’ information. These regulations between Vietnam and China are identical. 2. Directly target information considered to be dangerous to the regime It is not surprising to learn that both Vietnam and China are extremely concerned about cybersecurity. As detailed in the proposal from the MPS, the Draft Law of Vietnam focuses on underlining the importance of “preventing, fighting against, and neutralizing all activities using cyberspace to intrude national security; subverting against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; propagandizing to destroy the ideology, the internal affairs, and the common national unification; inciting mass protests; and obstructing cybersecurity, from the reactionary forces and those who are enemies of the State”. Further, Article 22 of the Draft Law clearly states that the Vietnamese government would apply all necessary technical methods to treat such information. Article 12 of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law has a similar provision when it prohibits Internet users from using “the network to engage in activities endangering national security, national honor, and interests, inciting subversion of national sovereignty, the overturn of the socialist system, inciting separatism, undermining national unity, advocating terrorism or extremism, inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, disseminating violent, obscene or sexual information, creating or disseminating false information to disrupt the economic or social order, as well as infringing on the reputation, privacy, intellectual property or other lawful rights and interests of others, and other such acts”. 3. Requiring all Internet users to provide true identity Article 47 of the Vietnamese Draft Law specifically demands all Internet service providers to require “users to provide true and correct personal information. If any user refuses to comply, the service providers shall have the responsibility to deny that user service”. At the same time, Internet service providers must establish their own verification system to ensure the accuracy and veracity of the information provided by the service users according to Article 33. Article 24 of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law has the same language as those contained in the Vietnamese Draft Law’s Article 47. Once businesses and the State can obtain users’ detailed personal information, there will be no guaranty that they would not use it for improper purposes, and would not harm such users. 4. The server is required to be localized within Vietnam’s territory and the providers will have to transmit their data overseas This requirement has proven to be the most controversial in the past few days among the public in Vietnam. Article 34 of the Draft Law requires “foreign corporations and providers, in order to provide telecommunications and Internet services in Vietnam, must … obtain business permits to operate, maintain a local representative agency, and the server which manages Vietnamese users’ data shall be stored within the national territory of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. Article 48 further provides, all personal information and important data concerning national security shall be stored within the national territory of Vietnam. In the event that someone wants to transfer such information overseas, then a security assessment shall be performed according to the related governmental agencies’ requirements. These rules and regulations have caused many Vietnamese concerns, that Google, Facebook, other social media platforms, email providers, and cloud computing service providers will soon pack up and leave Vietnam’s market. Surprisingly, Article 37 of the Chinese version also provides for similar regulations as the two above-mentioned Draft Law’s articles. As recent as this past June, tech giant Apple had to cooperate with a Chinese corporation to invest in a database center to comply with this specific provision. Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon had complied as well. 5. Forcing users and providers to act as informants If the Draft Law gets passed into law, Internet users, telecom and Internet providers must cooperate thoroughly with the government. Article 45 requires those who engage in activities using cyberspace must strictly comply with the government’s guidelines and shall allow the government to enforce their cybersecurity’s measures and safeguards. Moreover, all service providers must work with the government to provide actual identities of those Internet users, while at the same time, shall have the responsibility to fend off all information which is deemed to be detrimental to the State, according to Articles 46 and 47. Again, we find the same regulating language in China’s Cybersecurity Law. This time is located at Article 28, which demands that “network operators shall provide technical support and assistance to public security organs’ and state security organs; lawful activities preserving national security and investigating crimes”. 6. Forcing tech companies to follow government’s technical standards Article 46 mandates all businesses involved in the production and putting in commerce digital products, as well as providing Internet services, shall be in accordance with the provisions of laws and with the “mandatory quality assurance of State standards”, before releasing their products to the market. The State also shall pass laws which set the standards for the hardware and software to be used with the above-mentioned technical measures, as well as make sure that the applicable entities shall comply. This provision also serves as the legal basis for the State to enact the necessary decrees and orders, regulating the specificity of the technical measures mentioned and how to enforce such measures. Compare to China, the Chinese government had required all new computers to be pre-installed with the automatic content-control software – Green Dam – and also forced businesses, including Google, to have this software installed on all their computers. The fact that the Vietnamese government had become increasingly more and more interfering with the technical measures regarding the high-tech market highlights the fact that it has opened the doors for corruption and abuse of power from the MPS, the Ministry of Defense (MOD), Ministry of Science and Technology, and other related governmental agencies. 7. Forcing all entities that have relations with “critical information” to be evaluated by the State when buying hardware and software. Articles 11, 16, and 48 of the Draft Law gives the MPS, the MOD, and other State’s agencies, the authority to review equipment, networks products, and services which may be related to the national critical data system before they could be put into use or upgrade. This is similar to Article 35 of China’s Cybersecurity Law. Accordingly, this regulation means that any governmental agency or private business – who maintains an information system which related to energy, national finance, banking, transportation, chemicals, medicine, natural resources and environment, media, news and publishing, shall go through the MPS and/or the MOD when purchasing the necessary hardware, software, Internet service provider for their operation. It probably makes sense to see this regulation being applied to government’s agencies, but the fact that it is stepping into fields such as banking, medicine, news, and publishing, raises questions about the State’s ambition in controlling information in society at large. These regulations would grant the police and military the all-access key to both government’s agencies’ and private businesses’ hardware and software. This would be an opportunity for them to exert pressure on other agencies, businesses, as well as putting the whole society at risk for corruption and abuse of power. — The above were only seven strikingly obvious similarities between Vietnam’s Draft Law and China’s Cybersecurity Law. With an in-depth reading of both documents, one probably finds, even though smaller, much more alike features. This article is translated into English by Tran Vi from the article “Dự luật An ninh mạng: Hàng Việt Nam ‘Made in China’?“ that was published on Luat Khoa magazine on November 4th, 2017.
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"Undeniably, his trial and conviction again delineate the inefficient and broken legal system in Vietnam where people can be charged, tried, and convicted of crimes with no evidence to prove the required elements of the crime. How many more cases like that of Bùi Hữu Tuân's can Vietnam afford before serious efforts to reform its legal and political systems will take place?"
2.46k views ·
About two months after his trial, Nguyễn Văn Đài and his wife, along with his assistant and co-defendant, Lê Thu Hà, were quietly expelled from the country to Germany where the three now live in exile. It is not the first time political prisoners got expelled from Vietnam while serving their sentences, raising concerns that the regime is using them as pawns with Western countries in exchange for economic gains. The trial of Nguyễn Văn Đài and others gives us a glimpse of how online blogging could be used against individuals in Vietnam and why the government must pass the Cybersecurity law, even though mass protests broke out across the country partly because of it. *** While carrying capital punishment as the maximum sentence, Article 79 however, utterly lacks a clear, well-defined description of conducts which would constitute a person’s criminal liability, and as such, making it impossible for people to cry out mea culpa. The law only states that “a person conducting activities to form or participate in any organization to overthrow the people’s government shall be punished as follows,” and then immediately dwells into specifying the sentencing guidelines from twelve years, twenty years, life imprisonment, up to the death sentence for the main perpetrator, and five to fifteen years for those who act as accomplices. Because of this ambiguity per se in its language, Article 79 had faced strong criticism from the international community over the years, especially during the last Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2014. Critics continue pointing out, that along with Articles 88 and 258 of the Penal Code, the government has used these criminal provisions almost exclusively against political dissidents and pro-democracy activists, taking advantage of the vague language of these codes to criminalize peaceful protests and suppress political dissent. Facing such international pressure during the 2014 UPR, Vietnam agreed to amend Article 79, and they did, in 2015. However, except for some minor, cosmetic changes such as the number of the code section from 79 to 109, and adding a category for those who are “preparing to commit the crime” with the punishment ranging from one to five years imprisonment, the remaining of the “new” Article 109 is taken verbatim from Article 79. In short, we still have to look to actual cases to define which conducts would constitute the crime of “overthrowing the people’s government” in Vietnam, and in Đài’s case, such conducts would be: “Opening an office, having a website to operate, developing a ‘shortening manifesto’, having a structured organization, having internal and external affairs strategy, operating to increase membership, capacity, …; abusing the right to promote ‘democracy, human rights,’ ‘civil society’ to conceal the objectives of the Brotherhood for Democracy … waiting for the appropriate timing to openly operate in opposition of the government through changing the political structure in Vietnam, developing ‘pluralism with multiple parties’ and a government with ‘separation of powers’ to overthrow the people’s government while using a private sector economy as its basis.”
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We wrote about the danger of Vietnam's Cybersecurity law back in November 2017, comparing it to that of China's. 1. Two documents, one technical term There is one technical term in the Vietnamese Draft Law that one should pay close attention to, which is the “critical information system regarding national security” in Article 9. In the China’s version, there is a similar technical term: “critical information infrastructure” in Article 31. Both laws centered on these two technical terms, and their definitions are also very much alike. Both are used to define any information, that if being under attack, they would bring harms to national security, social order and public safety. That information – as mentioned in both Vietnam’s and China’s Cybersecurity Law – would then include energy, finance, transportation, media, and publications, as well as electronic governance. However, the Draft Law of Vietnam also includes military-security, national secrets, banking, natural resources and environment, chemicals, medicine, and other national security structures. The Draft Law also does not distinguish between private companies and government agencies when applying the concept of “critical information system regarding national security”. Based on the context of said law’s wordings, the targeted entities are implied to be both of them. The government and the enforcing authorities could also interpret this law as broad as possible. Baker & McKenzie, in their analysis of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law, has warned all companies whose may have established relationships with those entities which fall under the regulatory perimeters of said law, that this law could very well be applicable to them. The agencies and enterprises who are within the application of this law shall abide the technical measures and regulations as set by the government, and submit themselves to be under the direct control and observation of the MPS. They will have to obtain all necessary business permits to operate and maintain their equipment while at the same time, must cooperate with the authorities in monitoring users’ information. These regulations between Vietnam and China are identical. 2. Directly target information considered to be dangerous to the regime It is not surprising to learn that both Vietnam and China are extremely concerned about cybersecurity. As detailed in the proposal from the MPS, the Draft Law of Vietnam focuses on underlining the importance of “preventing, fighting against, and neutralizing all activities using cyberspace to intrude national security; subverting against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; propagandizing to destroy the ideology, the internal affairs, and the common national unification; inciting mass protests; and obstructing cybersecurity, from the reactionary forces and those who are enemies of the State”. Further, Article 22 of the Draft Law clearly states that the Vietnamese government would apply all necessary technical methods to treat such information. Article 12 of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law has a similar provision when it prohibits Internet users from using “the network to engage in activities endangering national security, national honor, and interests, inciting subversion of national sovereignty, the overturn of the socialist system, inciting separatism, undermining national unity, advocating terrorism or extremism, inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, disseminating violent, obscene or sexual information, creating or disseminating false information to disrupt the economic or social order, as well as infringing on the reputation, privacy, intellectual property or other lawful rights and interests of others, and other such acts”. 3. Requiring all Internet users to provide true identity Article 47 of the Vietnamese Draft Law specifically demands all Internet service providers to require “users to provide true and correct personal information. If any user refuses to comply, the service providers shall have the responsibility to deny that user service”. At the same time, Internet service providers must establish their own verification system to ensure the accuracy and veracity of the information provided by the service users according to Article 33. Article 24 of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law has the same language as those contained in the Vietnamese Draft Law’s Article 47. Once businesses and the State can obtain users’ detailed personal information, there will be no guaranty that they would not use it for improper purposes, and would not harm such users. 4. The server is required to be localized within Vietnam’s territory and the providers will have to transmit their data overseas This requirement has proven to be the most controversial in the past few days among the public in Vietnam. Article 34 of the Draft Law requires “foreign corporations and providers, in order to provide telecommunications and Internet services in Vietnam, must … obtain business permits to operate, maintain a local representative agency, and the server which manages Vietnamese users’ data shall be stored within the national territory of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. Article 48 further provides, all personal information and important data concerning national security shall be stored within the national territory of Vietnam. In the event that someone wants to transfer such information overseas, then a security assessment shall be performed according to the related governmental agencies’ requirements. These rules and regulations have caused many Vietnamese concerns, that Google, Facebook, other social media platforms, email providers, and cloud computing service providers will soon pack up and leave Vietnam’s market. Surprisingly, Article 37 of the Chinese version also provides for similar regulations as the two above-mentioned Draft Law’s articles. As recent as this past June, tech giant Apple had to cooperate with a Chinese corporation to invest in a database center to comply with this specific provision. Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon had complied as well. 5. Forcing users and providers to act as informants If the Draft Law gets passed into law, Internet users, telecom and Internet providers must cooperate thoroughly with the government. Article 45 requires those who engage in activities using cyberspace must strictly comply with the government’s guidelines and shall allow the government to enforce their cybersecurity’s measures and safeguards. Moreover, all service providers must work with the government to provide actual identities of those Internet users, while at the same time, shall have the responsibility to fend off all information which is deemed to be detrimental to the State, according to Articles 46 and 47. Again, we find the same regulating language in China’s Cybersecurity Law. This time is located at Article 28, which demands that “network operators shall provide technical support and assistance to public security organs’ and state security organs; lawful activities preserving national security and investigating crimes”. 6. Forcing tech companies to follow government’s technical standards Article 46 mandates all businesses involved in the production and putting in commerce digital products, as well as providing Internet services, shall be in accordance with the provisions of laws and with the “mandatory quality assurance of State standards”, before releasing their products to the market. The State also shall pass laws which set the standards for the hardware and software to be used with the above-mentioned technical measures, as well as make sure that the applicable entities shall comply. This provision also serves as the legal basis for the State to enact the necessary decrees and orders, regulating the specificity of the technical measures mentioned and how to enforce such measures. Compare to China, the Chinese government had required all new computers to be pre-installed with the automatic content-control software – Green Dam – and also forced businesses, including Google, to have this software installed on all their computers. The fact that the Vietnamese government had become increasingly more and more interfering with the technical measures regarding the high-tech market highlights the fact that it has opened the doors for corruption and abuse of power from the MPS, the Ministry of Defense (MOD), Ministry of Science and Technology, and other related governmental agencies. 7. Forcing all entities that have relations with “critical information” to be evaluated by the State when buying hardware and software. Articles 11, 16, and 48 of the Draft Law gives the MPS, the MOD, and other State’s agencies, the authority to review equipment, networks products, and services which may be related to the national critical data system before they could be put into use or upgrade. This is similar to Article 35 of China’s Cybersecurity Law. Accordingly, this regulation means that any governmental agency or private business – who maintains an information system which related to energy, national finance, banking, transportation, chemicals, medicine, natural resources and environment, media, news and publishing, shall go through the MPS and/or the MOD when purchasing the necessary hardware, software, Internet service provider for their operation. It probably makes sense to see this regulation being applied to government’s agencies, but the fact that it is stepping into fields such as banking, medicine, news, and publishing, raises questions about the State’s ambition in controlling information in society at large. These regulations would grant the police and military the all-access key to both government’s agencies’ and private businesses’ hardware and software. This would be an opportunity for them to exert pressure on other agencies, businesses, as well as putting the whole society at risk for corruption and abuse of power. — The above were only seven strikingly obvious similarities between Vietnam’s Draft Law and China’s Cybersecurity Law. With an in-depth reading of both documents, one probably finds, even though smaller, much more alike features. This article is translated into English by Tran Vi from the article “Dự luật An ninh mạng: Hàng Việt Nam ‘Made in China’?“ that was published on Luat Khoa magazine on November 4th, 2017.
1.36k views ·