Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Internet draft decree favors foreign businesses | Look At Vietnam

New Internet draft decree favors foreign businesses

June 7, 2012
LookAtVietnam – Vietnamese Internet service providers have been crying
out about the draft new regulations which they believe would create an unleveled
playing field for domestic and foreign enterprises.

Le Hong Minh, General Director of VNG, said that some provisions of the draft
document remain unclear, while the new regulations do not set up a leveling
playing field for domestic and foreign enterprises.

The attempted regulations focus on tightening the control over domestic
enterprises in terms of the service content. Meanwhile, it does not clearly show
the policy on encouraging the investment to develop Internet in rural and remote
areas, or developing Vietnamese apps. It also does not mention the policies that
help encourage Vietnamese people use Internet.

While the draft decree tends to impose higher control over domestic Internet
enterprises, it seems to favor foreign enterprises.

In the initial version of the draft decree, foreign enterprises have to fulfill
some obligations in Vietnam. They have to establish representative offices or
obtain legal status in Vietnam and set up servers in Vietnam, or make written
commitments that the violation information will be erased and that Vietnamese
users cannot access to the violating information.

However, the latest draft of the decree has eased the duties foreign enterprises
have to do in Vietnam. Foreign investors can set up representative offices in
Vietnam or appoint Vietnamese individuals or institutions to represent them.
They can also join forces with relevant agencies and units to retract violating
information. The foreign service providers will have to provide information
about users when they are requested by the investigation bodies.

However, while Minh shows his dissatisfaction about the new regulation, some
analysts have said the draft decree compilers have made a right decision to ease
the obligations of foreign enterprises.

They said that if Vietnam imposes overly strict regulations, this may lead to
the fact that they would shut down their business in Vietnam. If so, Vietnamese
users would suffer. They would not be able to access foreign services, while
they are not satisfactory with the domestically provided services.

According to Do Ngoc Hung, Director of VOG, which is running Phunu.Net, a social
network, once the websites and foreign institutions providing services to
Vietnamese people, would have to follow procedures to obtain the licenses for
running e-information website or social network, and bear the inspection like
other domestic enterprises, once the services grow to a certain level.

The “certain level” can be defined by the state management agencies. For
example, the services have 1 million page views a month, or the enterprises
named in the periodic 6-month list released by the Ministry of Information and
Communication.

To date, the management, providing and use of Internet services and
e-information on Internet has been covered by the Decree No. 97 dated August 28,
2008. However, after four years of implementation, the decree has become
unsuitable to the new circumstances.

The Ministry of Information and Communication is drafting a new decree which is
expected to replace the decree 97, slated for submitting to the Prime Minister
in June 2012.

Minh of VNG said the draft decree points out the important goals for Vietnam in
the time to come, including the development of broadband Internet and the
application of Internet into the healthcare, education, science sectors.
Besides, the draft decree also comprises of the provisions which aim to keep a
tight control over the Internet service providing to prevent negative impacts of
Internet. Vietnam encourages the development of the domain name “.vn” and IPv6
addresses.

Do Ngoc Hung of VOG, while highly appreciating the draft decree, said that the
document shows the management agencies’ “open and friendly” viewpoint towards
the enterprises providing information services by facilitating the enterprises’
operation.

Source: Buu Dien
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