See More on Facebook

Curiosity, Politics

Vietnam debates internet security laws

Amid worldwide efforts to improve internet security, Vietnam’s government considers the debate for increased surveillance and internet safety protocols.


Written by

Updated: May 30, 2018

National Assembly (NA) deputies have raised concerns that the draft law on internet security will prevent Vietnamese citizens and companies from accessing information on the web.

The draft law insists that foreign service providers, including giant internet service companies like Google, Youtube and Facebook, must store Vietnamese customers’ information on local servers instead of on servers located overseas, as currently practised.

On Tuesday morning, NA members gathered in the main hall for their second discussion on the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Public Security, which is meant to ensure national security in the age of the internet.

Deputy Phạm Thị Thanh Thủy from Thanh Hóa Province opposed Article 26 of the law. It requires that all local and foreign organisations and companies, which provide internet services or own an information network in Việt Nam, set up a representative office in the country and store their customers’ personal data as well as important data related to national security in local servers.

Thủy called for reconsideration of this regulation. “Data servers for many popular internet services are located overseas,” she said, adding that the world now increasingly relied on cloud servers, or virtual servers, to store data instead of older physical servers.

“This requirement is hardly feasible and will create problems for the Vietnamese people to access information on the internet, if service providers fail to comply with the law,” she said.

Phú Thọ province deputy Cao Đình Thưởng said it would be helpful if the law could make foreign businesses store data in local servers, but raised questions about the potential consequences if those companies, for example Facebook and Google, refused to do so.

“What is our solution then? Will we ask them to stop providing the service in Việt Nam?” he asked.

Privacy threat

Many other deputies raised concerns about the threat to Vietnamese citizens’ privacy posed by an article stipulating that an internet security specialised force under the Ministry of Public Security will have the jurisdiction to examine the information networks of any organisations and agencies upon authorities’ requests.

According to NA deputy Nguyễn Phương Tuấn from Ninh Bình Province, that means that the specialised police could monitor not only the networks vital to national security, but also those that are not vital.

“The risk for leakage of personal information or trade secrets is significant,” he added, but Vietnamese people and businesses would have no choice but to endure it for the supposed sake of national security if the regulation were passed.

Bạc Liêu Province deputy Tạ Văn Hạ shared his fellow deputy’s concern, stressing that such a potent tool given to the police would very likely lead to abuse of power, compromising the rights of individuals and organisations.

National security breach

Deputy Lê Bình Nhưỡng from the southern province of Bến Tre asked why the phrase “national security” was repeated throughout the draft law on internet security but there is not a single regulation defining a “national security breach”.

“The (draft) law is born to protect the national security, but it also has to ensure the basic rights of freedom of the citizens and the businesses, which are guaranteed by the Constitution,” Nhưỡng said.

The people were allowed to do whatever the laws did not prohibit, he said, so the draft law must clearly state what actions were considered off –limits, instead of employing the vague phrase of “national security” which could be construed in many ways by different people.

Trust in the police

Nghệ An province deputy Nguyễn Hữu Cầu, who is also the director of the provincial police department, defended the regulation regarding the establishment of a representative office. He cited Facebook, which has so far set up some 70 offices in other countries, to imply that the company could now also open a new office in Việt Nam.

The regulation, according to him, was “reasonable and practical.”

A police colonel, deputy Nguyễn Minh Đức from HCM City, meanwhile, assured the NA that the police would never leak personal information or trade secrets as many feared.

“It is the responsibility of the police. They won’t compromise,” he said.

Earlier on the same day, Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ presented to the NA the draft amendment to the Law on Education.

A highlight of the new law was to eliminate the policy of free tuition for teacher training college students. Instead, it proposes a so-called education credit scheme. It would provide loans to the students throughout their years in college, and if the students work as a teacher for a given amount of time after graduation, they would no longer need to pay the debt.

The NA is expected to discuss the draft amended Law on Education on June 11.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Viet Nam News
About the Author: Viet Nam News is one of the country's top English language daily newspapers, providing coverage of the latest domestic and international developments in a range of areas.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Curiosity, Politics

Xi: Step up fight against corruption

The president calls for more measures to be taken against corruption. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called on Friday for all-around efforts to fight corruption and improve the nation’s oversight system to secure even greater strategic outcomes in full and strict governance over the Party. Xi, China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing. The sweeping victory that has been secured in the anti-graft campaign must be consolidated by strengthening deterrence so that officials “don’t dare to, are unable to and have no desire to” commit acts of corruption, Xi said. To this end, anti-corruption efforts in financial fields should be stepped up, particularly in key projects, areas and posi


By China Daily
January 14, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Fugitive Jho Low says no connection between 1Mdb and China

Jho Low rubbishes Wall Street Journal report about China’s alleged role in 1MDB probe. Fugitive businessman Jho Low has dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal linking China to Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB as “a continuation of a trial by media” led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The Journal said in a report on Monday (Jan 7) that senior Chinese leaders offered in 2016 to help bail out 1Malaysia Development Berhad or 1MDB, which is at the centre of a swelling, multi-billion-dollar graft scandal. The report cited minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings. Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the United States and other countries to drop their probes of allegations


By The Straits Times
January 10, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Asia’s largest LGBTQ exhibition to open in Bangkok later this year

The exhibition will run from March through next year. “Spectrosynthesis II- Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia”, the largest-ever survey of regional contemporary art, will explore gender issues and feature more than 200 works by 50 artists. It will open at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) on November 23 and run until March 1 next year. The exhibition received huge critical acclaim when it was first staged in Taiwan 2017, after which its Hong Kong-based organiser, the Sunpride Foundation, chose Bangkok as its second stop. “Bangkok is my second home and Thailand is the most friendly LGBT country in Asia and the more liberal nation,” said Patrick Sun, founder of Sunpride Foundation. “Taiwan is the one of th


By The Nation (Thailand)
January 10, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Malaysian rulers to pick new king by the month’s end

Previous king stepped down in unprecedented move on Sunday. Malaysia’s Conference of Rulers will meet in about two weeks’ time to elect the country’s new constitutional monarch and his deputy after the King, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move. The 16th King, or Supreme Ruler, and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month, Keeper of the Royal Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said in a press statement. Yesterday morning, six of Malaysia’s nine ruling monarchs held a meeting at the national palace, Istana Negara, following Sultan Muhammad’s decision to step down as the Malaysian King. “The rulers att


By The Straits Times
January 8, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Ex-ambassador urges former colleague to defect to South Korea

A feature story from Korean Herald outlining the intricacies of a possible defection by Pyongyang’s ambassador in Italy. A former senior North Korean diplomat who defected to the South in 2016 on Saturday urged a former colleague who has gone into hiding before ending his term in Italy to come to Seoul, as opposed to the US where he is reportedly seeking asylum. Thae Yong-ho, who was the deputy ambassador in London and the most recent senior diplomat to defect, wrote an open letter to Jo Song-gil, 44, until recently North Korea’s acting ambassador to Italy, who fled the Rome embassy with his wife in early November without notice. Jo became


By The Korea Herald
January 7, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Taiwan’s ruling party DPP elects moderate as new chairman

The by-election comes after a disastrous local election cycle where the pro-independence party lost heavily. Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elected a new chairman on Sunday (Jan 6), choosing a moderate to fill up the post vacated by President Tsai Ing-wen after the party’s disappointing performance in recent polls. Mr Cho Jung-tai, a consensus candidate backed by major party figures, took 72.6 per cent or 24,699 of the ballots cast by party members, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA). The former Cabinet secretary-general comfortably defeated Mr You Ying-lung, an openly pro-independence rival who supported a re


By The Straits Times
January 7, 2019