Last update 6/6/2012 7:44:28 AM (GMT+7)

New Internet draft decree favors foreign businesses

VietNamNet Bridge – 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