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Internet café owners ordered to install applications blocking certain websites

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Vietnamese Internet users may soon find themselves unable to access certain websites and even track their online activities, Google said recently.

The Agence France-Presse quoted Google policy analyst Dorothy Chou as saying that the Vietnamese government introduced new regulations in April 2010. "Internet users in Hanoi will soon find that they can't reach certain sites when browsing the Web at local Internet cafes," Chou said.

One of the new orders reportedly require all retail Internet locations in Vietnam to install a particular application on their servers by 2011, with the Internet cafes in the capital city of Hanoi expected to be the first to comply.

"The implementation of an application like this one would choke off access to information for many in Hanoi - given how popular Internet cafes are among Internet users in Vietnam," she said.

"If the regulation spreads beyond Hanoi, it will impose these vague and non-transparent restrictions on users all over the country," Chou added.

According to Chou, Google was alarmed earlier this year by cyber attacks on Vietnamese human rights activists and intermittent blockages of Facebook in Vietnam.

She said such government measures threaten free expression online in Vietnam.

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