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Vietnam Today

Cyberspace operations command set up

Released at: 10:33, 10/01/2018

Cyberspace operations command set up

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) at the foundation ceremony for the new unit on Jan. 8 (Photo: VGP)

Command established to protect Vietnam's sovereignty on the internet.

by Quang Huy

The Ministry of Defense  announced on January 8 the creation of its cyberspace operations command to protect Vietnam's sovereignty on the internet, with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc citing risks related to the disputed East Sea and complex regional and global situations.

The new unit, founded under the Prime Minister's Decision 1198/QĐ-TTg signed on August 15 2017,  would “research and predict online wars”, the Ministry of Defense said in a report on the government website, which also reported the Prime Minister’s comments.

“To protect the country in the new situation, the Communist Party has set a high priority on the protection of the State in cyberspace,” the website quoted the Prime Minister Phuc as saying at the foundation ceremony for the new unit.

In December, Vietnam revealed it had a cyber-warfare unit of 10,000 staff, named Force 47, to counter what are considered “wrong” views on the internet.

The government has also called for a closer watch over social media networks and sought the removal of content deemed offensive.

In an article in August, President Tran Dai Quang called for tougher controls on the internet and highlighted threats to cyber-security. He said hostile forces had used the internet to organize offensive campaigns that “undermined the reputation of leaders of the Party and the State, with a negative impact on cadres, party members, and the people.”

President Quang said Vietnam needed to focus more on controlling online information, especially on social networks, and needed an effective solution “to prevent news sites and blogs from carrying bad or dangerous content.”

Vietnam also rolled out an online database on January 1 in a bid to raise national knowledge to a new level. The “Digital Vietnamese Knowledge System”, set up by the Ministry of Science and Technology, is now available in Vietnamese at https://dev.itrithuc.vn.

It contains information on government agencies, businesses, important organizations and individuals, and science and culture, with a Q&A section that allows people to contribute to the system by raising inquiries and a collection of apps designed by Vietnamese developers.

Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh said the widespread use of the knowledge platform would be the premise for raising the intelligence of people at all levels. Officials in charge of the project have said is still in its beta version and will need a lot of public contributions.

The database is an initiative taken to enhance Vietnam’s digital potential ahead of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam told the rolling out ceremony. It is a step towards “bringing internet literacy to the entire society,” he said.

The knowledge system is introduced at a time when the country has pledged stronger control to clean up the internet, specifically “toxic” content on social media, as more than half of the country’s 95 million people are now online.

Facebook last year removed 159 anti-government accounts, while Google removed around 4,500 videos containing bad or toxic content from YouTube out of 5,000 videos requested to be taken down.

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