The Office of the President held a press conference on June 28 to announce President Tran Dai Quang’s order on the promulgation of seven new laws, including the new cybersecurity law and six other revised laws on national defense, denunciation, competition, planning, mapping, and physical education and sports.
These seven bills were adopted by the National Assembly, the country’s legislative body, during their recent sitting earlier this month.
Freedom not restricted
“The cybersecurity law does not restrict people’s freedom. Citizens’ actions, that which are not forbidden by the penal code and other laws, will be protected by the State,” Lieutenant General Hoang Phuoc Thuan, head of the cybersecurity department under the public security ministry, author of the controversial law, told the media.
“The cybersecurity law was written with a high level of consideration, and has incorporated feedback from concerned ministries and agencies, citizens, 30 IT enterprises both domestic and foreign, including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon,” he said.
Comprised of 43 articles arranged into seven chapters, the cybersecurity law, passed with nearly 87 percent approval by the National Assembly and billed as an effective tool to fight off crimes in cyberspace, would go into effect in 2019.
Chapter VII of the cybersecurity bill would require domestic and foreign service providers who collect, exploit or analyze personal data or data generated by users in Vietnam to create backups of this data within the country in a certain time.
Anti-State propaganda, incendiary content that disturbs social order and public security, acts that violate ones’ dignity and reputation, as well as cyber espionage are prime targets of the new law.
“Data of Vietnamese users have been exploited rampantly to make profits, or have even been used for political purposes or other legal violations, while the State has no legal tool to manage these activities,” Thuan said.
“Hence, the law will serve as a solid legal foundation for the people to be worry-free in online transactions or business activities,” Thuan stressed.
The public security ministry’s official also said that the drafting committee has started working with the justice ministry to develop the decree guiding the implementation of the law, which is slated to be reviewed by the Prime Minister in October.
The Office of the President held a press conference on June 28 to announce the President's order on the promulgation of seven new laws__Photo: VNA
Deputy Director of the Government Inspectorate Nguyen Van Thanh at the press conference also presented the summary of new or adjusted provisions in the amended law on denunciation, which now stipulates terms on protection measures for the denunciators to encourage people to inform authorities of corruption and legal violations.
Protection of the denunciator would cover their personal information, job details, life, health, dignity and reputation, and properties. Protection would also be extended to the denunciator’s family (spouses, parents and children).
Thanh also responded to concerns over the exclusion of email and phone as accepted channels of denunciations, saying that the anonymity would be easily exploited to slander and spread misinformation.
The revised law on competition, which takes effect this July, now regulates anti-competition acts or economic concentration acts (defined as merger & acquisition and other related acts) that are deemed to limit or potentially restrict competition in Vietnam’s market, “both within and outside the territory.”
The law now also contains articles which forbid State agencies from “hindering competition in the market,” which are expected to prevent the abuse of power from this particular legal subject.
The amended law was deemed to have adopted a new approach to prevent negative economic concentration, as well as added ‘market power’ into the list of criteria to assess the dominating firms or groups of firms which could potentially cause monopoly risks.
Strengthened national defense
The 2018 Law on National Defense, comprising 40 articles arranged into seven chapters, comprehensively provides Government policies to ensure robust and transparent civil defense.
The revised bill has added in a number of regulations to realize the Government’s policies on developing science and technology in national defense and the country’s defense industry, in line with Industry 4.0.
Another change in the bill is the elimination of purely economic arms of military units, which have come under criticism as these military-owned companies are usually overlooked by civilian market authorities, on top of concerns over dilution of the military’s primary role.
The revised planning law would abolish planning of certain industries (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and notary) to eradicate unnecessary licenses, showing the Government’s commitment to administrative reforms.
The revised cartography law, coming into effect next year, stipulates wider use of social mobilization and science and technology in mapping.
Notable changes in the revised law on sports and physical education are incentives for private investors in sports, better rights for sportsmen with notable achievements, and subsidized ticket prices for children, students, elderly, disabled people or ethnic people in remote areas.- (VNS/VLLF)