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Decree 72

It's so easy and so convenient, why not give it a try? After all, everyone else is doing it.

I'm talking about internet censorship and muzzling: after all, if you put the right laws in place, everything that happens afterwards is illegal and you can clamp down with full force and with relative impunity. After all, you do want a nation of law abiding citizens, order, and discipline, do you not?

This is something Vietnam seems to understand very well. But they weren't the first.

Just shut the fuck up!

Vietnam's controversial Decree 72 came into force in late August, and if enforced, will have a pretty chilling effect on the ability of Vietnamese to access quality reporting and criticism. Here are some of its greatest hits:

  1. Blogs may only be used for personal information, cat pictures, and stupid jokes, not commentary or reporting
  2. It is illegal to use Twitter and similar to publish information criticizing the government or that would harm national security (the term is undefined, of course: how useful).
  3. It requires foreign companies - Google, Yahoo, similar, we're sure - to maintain their servers within the geographical borders of Vietnam (for easy access, yes?). Not sure what that means for the Dictator's Handbook. Oh, yes I am: Dick just called, and he says you can fuck right off.

Not bad, gentlemen, not bad.

Appalled? Read it for yourself over at the BBC, whose articles will soon be unavailable to the Vietnamese.

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