This article details the problems with Internet censorship in Vietnam on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s visit to the country in August. The developing nation has the fastest growing Internet population in Asia, with one in three now online and two to three million new users a year are expected. This is a promising development for the nation, with the government recognizing the Internet as “an integral part of the ‘knowledge era’ the country must enter if economic development is to be sustained.”
However, the growth of the Internet has led to complications with the restrictive communist government. The government introduced a law in April that would greatly regulate internet activity and prevent bloggers from posting anonymously. An incident occurred in July in which the mother of an Internet blogger set herself on fire in front of the People’s Committee office to protest her daughter’s arrest for posting critically about sensitive national issues regarding police abuses. This present an interesting dilemma that bears thinking about this semester as we learn about ICT for Development. While the infrastructure and technology may be put in place in developing countries, there is the extra challenge to make sure that the internet and other technologies are used to their full potential, despite restrictive governments attempts to regulate Internet freedom. Not only do developers have to put the technologies in place, they also must worry about them being used properly and to their full potential.