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Draft law requires Facebook, Google to set up data centers in Vietnam

Last update: 08:10 | 08/11/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - A draft law on cyber security requires foreign companies providing internet and telecommunication services in Vietnam to have operation licenses, a representative agency and an open data center in the country .


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Under the draft law, service providers like Google, Facebook, Viber, Skype, Gmail and Uber would have to set up representative agencies and data centers in Vietnam to be able to continue providing services.

In a document sent to the NA’s National Defence and Security Committee, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) warned that Vietnam would violate international commitments by doing this. 

“The requirement on setting up representative agencies in Vietnam will be contrary with Vietnam’s WTO and EVFTA (EU-Vietnam FTA) commitments,” the document reads.

VCCI’s deputy chair Hoang Quang Phong said that the regulation, if applied, will also be contrary to the spirit of TPP. Though TPP has not been ratified by Vietnam NA, and the US has withdrawn from the agreement, the negotiations still continue.

Adam Sitkoff from AmCham warned that the draft law, if coming true, will hinder the development of Vietnam digital economy. 

Under the draft law, service providers like Google, Facebook, Viber, Skype, Gmail and Uber would have to set up representative agencies and data centers in Vietnam to be able to continue providing services.

Le Hai Binh, deputy chair of the Vietnam E-commerce Association, said the regulation is unfeasible. 

“What will happen if the global service providers refuse to set up servers in Vietnam? It is impossible to request ISPs to block the services from the giants, because they have servers located in many different places,” Binh said.

He said that Vietnam doesn’t have sufficient workforce, devices, infrastructure and experience to manage user data. There are about 64 million Facebook users in Vietnam. 

Huynh Thanh Phi, a marketing expert, said on Tuoi Tre that the law, if applied, will be a barrier preventing Vietnamese from approaching the world’s technological advances.

He said developed countries do not care where data is located, because it is now the ‘cloud era’. They only care about how data will be used.

The newspaper also quoted Bui Viet Hien Nhi from FPT Telecom as saying that the requirement won’t be applauded by foreign firms.

“It is a necessity to tighten control to ensure cyber security, but we need to set reasonable regulations based on specific characteristics of the business field,” she commented.

However, Nhi believes that it is reasonable to require global service providers to set up representative agencies in Vietnam, because this will help control and minimize risks on trade and information security.

“All businesses that do business in Vietnam must obey the laws of the host countries,” she said. 

Meanwhile, state management agencies still insist on the necessity to set such strict requirements to ensure national cyber security. 

“What will happen if Vietnamese personal information is collected through the services for bad purposes?” an official of the Ministry of Information & Communication said.


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Thanh Mai

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