Law on Cyber Security

The implementation of the Law on Cyber Security in Vietnam started on 1 January 2019. According to the online newspaper of the government, the Law on Cyber Security protects national security and ensures social order and safety in cyberspace, and the responsibility of agencies, organisations, and individuals.

The 7 chapters and 43 articles of the law oblige Internet companies to store their data locally and hand over the data to the government upon request, without a warrant.(link) The law also requires Internet companies to remove information that is deemed to be against the government.

In his New Year’s Day speech, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, that ‘Mass communication efforts must be stepped up to create “social consensus” and those abusing the freedom of information and free speech, causing harm to the interests of the state and citizens would receive appropriate punishments.’

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the communist authorities to revise the law and postpone its implementation. Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of HRW said that this law is designed to further enable the Ministry of Public Security’s pervasive surveillance to spot critics, and to deepen the Communist Party’s monopoly on power. The law comes into force a week after Vietnam’s Association of Journalists announced a new code of conduct on the use of social media by its members, forbidding reporters to post news, picture and comments that ‘run counter to’ the state.