Confronted to a common dilemma in authoritarian countries, Vietnamese leaders are torn between the desire for economic development fostered by new technologies and the fear of political instability that these new technologies may cause.
Connected from the end of the 90's Vietnam has start to equip with infrastructures in the mid 2000's. The Country has seen a surge in Internet use in recent years. It now has more users than any other country in Southeast Asia, many of whom first went online through mobile devices.
Of course the Communist Party (the only party in Vietnam) is always behind the Internet and most Internet Access Providers are controlled directly or indirectly by the Party. The leader, Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications (VNPT) that represent 74% of the market belongs to the state. Internet Access Providers are the first tool for the Government to control and censor Internet access. A component of Vietnam’s strategy to control the Internet consists of the arrest of bloggers, netizens and journalists. Vietnam is the world’s second largest prison for netizens after China.
When I walked into the cities in Vietnam I was surprised by all the people watching at their smartphone in the street. I started to photograph them not to make a heavy topic but more with the will to observe and make a light and even humoristic series like this one. When I came back in France I read that mobile data in Vietnam is among the cheapest in the world.