Vietnam orders technology firms, telecom operators to store user data locally, set up local offices

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Vietnam’s government has ordered technology firms to store their users’ data locally and set up local offices, the latest move to tighten cybersecurity rules.

The new rules, issued in a decree on Wednesday, will apply to social media companies and telecom operators such as Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook, and will be effective October 1.

The decree states, “The data of all Internet users, ranging from financial records and biometric data to information on people’s ethnicity and political views, or any data created by users while surfing the Internet, must be stored domestically.” “

The decree states that the authorities will be empowered to issue data collection requests for the purpose of investigation and to ask service providers to remove the content if it is found to be in violation of government guidelines.

Foreign firms will have 12 months to set up local data storage and representative offices after receiving instructions from the Minister of Public Security, and store the data onshore for a minimum period of 24 months as per the decree.

Two tech firms contacted by Reuters, Google and Meta, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Vietnam is run by the Communist Party, which maintains strict media censorship and tolerates little dissent. It has tightened internet rules over the years, culminating in a cybersecurity law that came into force in 2019 and national guidelines on social media behavior in June last year.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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