Home Vietnam Arrests Opposition Blogger: This Week in Online Tyranny

Vietnam Arrests Opposition Blogger: This Week in Online Tyranny

Although it’s been a short Week, the tin horns have blessed us all by generating enough Online Tyranny to justify a new post. Well, let’s get to it, shall we?

Vietnamese blogger charged with trying to “topple the government.”Pham Minh Hoang, member of an opposition party in Vietnam, has been arrested. A member of the Viet Tan party, Hoang is a college professor in Ho Chi Minh City. He was arrested for talking about democracy, corruption and the environment, including opposing the mining of bauxite from the central highlands of the country by a Chinese concern.

He is charged, however, with “activities aimed at overthrowing the government.” A Christian pastor and two others from the opposition party have been arrested. Hoang’s arrest was done furtively, with initially no announcement of detention, which is contrary to Vietnamese law. A petition has been created urging the Vietnamese government to free Hoang, and his three associates.

Google’s “Transparency Report” indicates more government requests for user info. The requests for user information and requests for shut-downs increased. The U.S. led the way. The first six months of 2009, the U.S. made 3,580 requests. The first six months of this year, they’ve made 4,287.

Hoder. The elephant in the room, of course, is the sentencing of Canadian-Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan. Instead of getting the death penalty, which the prosecutor was seeking, he received the worst sentence ever handed down by a blogger: 19.5 years.

In the comments below, Nyi Nyi maintains that Nay Phone Latt is actually the blogger who received the longest sentence. Latt, a prominent Burmese blogger arrested in the crackdown following that country’s Saffron Revolution. He was sentenced to 20 years and six months, though it was later reduced to 12 years. So perhaps it would be more accurate to say Hoder is the blogger imprisoned under the longest sentence of any blogger in the world.

U.S. internet censorship bill down for the count. Consideration of a back-door bill that would introduce filtering to the U.S. has been shelved until after the mid-term elections at least.

China arrests online novelist for “obscenity.” 100 publishers have asked to publish a wildly popular online novel called “”Sleeping in Dongguan in the 80s.” Chinese security has decided to arrest the writer instead. Want to strike a blow against tyranny? Translate the thing into English and publish excerpts. If you do, we’ll cover it.

Wiretapping the American web. The U.S. executive has crafted new regulations that would require online companies to build in “back doors” for law enforcement, making it possible for the government to both intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

India has started a project to ID all its people. Using biometric data and personal information to authenticate, this system will assign a 12 digit number to each citizen. The claim that such a system will prevent fraud, increase efficiency and help the Indian on the street strains credulity given the government’s actions over the past several months. A terrible precedent, should it go through, India’s project will serve as a model for privacy destruction in the same way that China’s Great Firewall serves as a model for shutting down free speech.

Turkey blocks Vimeo. Turkey has added the video-sharing site Vimeo to the list of over 10,000 sites it currently blocks, including YouTube. (Thanks to Oguz Serdar.)

Hoang photo from GVO | Ball and chain illustration from Indiamos

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