The 2nd Vietnam Cyber Dialogue

March 8, 2018

The first Vietnam Cyber Dialogue (VCD) was organized to help stakeholders gain a better understanding of the physical and security challenges in Vietnam; to showcase relevant projects and efforts; and to establish new connections and collaborative projects among attendees. VCD 2.0 will again be co-hosted by ARTICLE 19, Reporters Without Borders and Viet Tan to address the increasing online and offline threats while collectively strengthening our community.


1. November 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the arrival of internet in Vietnam.

2. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Zalo are the top three messaging apps. Users identified trust as an important factor when choosing their messaging platform.

3. There are 52 million active users on Facebook. Many Vietnamese activists have followings of over 100,000. At least one prominent activist has over 400,000 followers.

4. A senior Vietnamese official revealed the government employs 10,000 cyber trolls to attack online dissent.

5. In May 2017, cybersecurity experts identified a Vietnam-based APT (advanced persistent threat) group responsible for one of the largest mass surveillance and cyber attacks targeting other ASEAN nations, human rights and civil society groups, and media.

6. A new cyber law drafted at the end of 2017 requires tech companies like Facebook and Google to open data centers in Vietnam, where user data would be stored and monitored.

7. The government requested Google remove 3,000 “toxic” YouTube videos that criticized the Communist Party. Google complied, taking down over 1,500 videos.

8. The government is known to block Facebook or throttle the internet during politically sensitive times, the most recent case during President Obama’s visitand at the height of the Formosa fish crisis.

9. In 2017 alone, more than 40 activists have been arrested, issued warrants or exiled in an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression.

10. Reporters Without Borders has declared the Vietnamese government an “enemy of the Internet” and ranked Vietnam 175 out of 180 countries on its World Press Freedom Index.


Kim Pham is an independent facilitator and trainer in the technology and human rights space, with close to a decade’s experience in the sector. Passionate about catalyzing social change, she co-founded Access Now in 2009. Most recently, she launched DS 360, an organizational security initiative at IREX aimed at supporting at-risk civil society actors.


ARTICLE 19 defends freedom of expression and information. ARTICLE 19 fight for all hostages of censorship, defend dissenting voices that have been muzzled, and campaign against laws and practices that silence.


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been defending freedom of the press and freedom of information for over 30 years. Thanks to its unique global network of 150 local correspondents investigating in 130 countries, 13 national offices and a consultative status at the UN and UNESCO, RSF is able to have a global impact, gather on-the-ground information, conduct major advocacy campaigns, and assist and defend news providers all across the world.


The mission of Viet Tan is to overcome dictatorship, build the foundation for a sustainable democracy, and demand justice and human rights for the Vietnamese people through a nonviolent struggle based on civic participation. Through its internet freedom program, Viet Tan aims to:

• Challenge legal statutes restricting freedom of expression
• Equip netizens with knowledge and tools for circumvention and digital security
• Support imprisoned citizen journalists and cyber activists One of our many projects is Loa, an English-language podcast covering current affairs, culture, and politics in Vietnam.