The U.S. embassy in Vietnam has issued a statement on behalf of the U.S. government to stress that it’s very concerned about recent anti-Internet moves in the nation. According to the AP, the statement joined similar ones made by Google and Facebook decrying the restriction of personal and press freedoms. The embassy says, “fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline” and expressed deep concern about restricting the “types of information individuals can share via personal social media accounts and on websites.”
Last week the Bangkok Post reported the Vietnamese population was expressing outrage at Decree 72, titled “Management, Provision, Use of Internet Services and Information Content Online.” It states that only personal information must be shared on online social media sites, with the emphasis that only personal “news” is permitted, rather than news quoted, aggregated or summarized from the press or government news sources. It’s due to come into force on September 1, and seemingly stands in contradiction to many freedom of speech principles held elsewhere in the world.
Thai authorities are said to be cracking down on Netizens who merely “Like” political rumors via Facebook’s ubiquitous social interface. The Washington Post–Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s newest media plaything—reports that local police are investigating four people for allegedly causing panic. They are said to have posted false rumors of a military coup on Facebook. Referring to the affair an investigator is said to have threatened to charge anyone who “liked” the postings on Facebook, and reminded Netizens to be “careful” of what they post online. Thailand last week was said to have banned Bitcoins because its legal system couldn’t adapt fast enough to regulate the cryptocurrency.
[Image via Flickr user: Rebecca Barray]