The passing of a new cybersecurity law by the Vietnamese parliament has led to criticism of its potential effect on freedom of speech and expression.
Legislators said the new regulation, which will require tech companies to store data about Vietnamese users on local servers, will increase security in the country.
But according to critics, this move could possibly stifle free speech for Vietnamese internet users as the companies might be forced to hand over large amounts of private information to the government.
The new law will prohibit users from organising online for anti-state purposes, spreading false information or take part in online activities that potentially undermine the country’s achievements or solidarity.
In a response, human rights organisation Amnesty International called the new law “deeply regressive”.
“This decision has potentially devastating consequences for freedom of expression in Vietnam. In the country’s deeply repressive climate, the online space was a relative refuge