Vietnamese authorities have found that regulations aimed at tightening control over Internet cafes have been largely ignored, state-controlled media reported Saturday.

Under a decree issued last year, Vietnam’s estimated 5,000 Internet cafes were ordered to examine customers’ identification, record their personal information, monitor their usage and block access to subversive and pornographic sites.

But a nationwide three-month inspection, which ended this month, showed that most Internet cafes violated the regulations, the Tien Phong newspaper said.

“The results of the three-month inspection showed that the regulations on management of Internet cafes are outdated and even unrealistic,” the newspaper said.

Most of the Internet cafes had not installed software to bar access to subversive and pornographic sites. They also did not store the personal information of users for 30 days on computer servers and ignored rules governing children in the cafes, it said.

“The regulations requiring children under 14 years of age to be accompanied by an adult when using services at Internet cafes are very difficult to implement,” the newspaper quoted Nguyen Anh Ca, director of the Post and Telecommunications Department of the south-central province of Ninh Thuan, as saying.

The newspaper quoted Nguyen Kim Hoa, director of the Post and Telecommunications Department of Khanh Hoa province, as saying most Internet cafes did not make clients show their ID cards for fear the clients would go to a competitor which did not require identification.

There are more than 10 million Internet users in Vietnam, which has a population of 84 million.

The government has cracked down on users accessing the Internet for political or religious dissent. Several cyber dissidents have received lengthy jail sentences in recent years.

© 2006 AP DIGITAL