Vietnam’s plans to vigorously police the internet took a step forward Tuesday when it adopted a cybersecurity law that requires internet companies such as Facebook and Google to store their Vietnam-based users’ data on servers in the country.
Critics say the new law could make it easier for authorities in the one-party communist state to track down critics online. Legislation passed by the National Assembly also requires internet companies to open offices in the country, which they have been hesitant to do, in addition to removing content within 24 hours at the government’s request.
Last year, China enacted a law requiring that cloud data from China-based consumers be stored in the country, sparking worries about privacy. And Vietnam has steadily increased scrutiny of what is posted online as Facebook’s reach has grown.
Both Facebook Inc. and Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., have long flagged their opposition to the law through the Asia Internet Coalition, which also includes companies such as Apple Inc., Yahoo and Twitter Inc. The group has warned that the measures could deter investment and undermine local businesses that have profited from a boom in social media in recent years.
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