Companies raise concerns about Internet services circular

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 16:30

Participants attend a seminar to provide opinions on the circular on detailed regulation of cross-border provision of public information, which is being drafted by the Ministry of Information and Communications. — Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Tightening of regulations on cross-border provision of public information will affect international enterprises, their local partners and customers, Vinalink CEO Tuan Ha said in Ha Noi on June 10.

The CEO of the marketing strategy consulting firm was speaking at a seminar held by the Vietnam Internet Association, to collect opinions on the circular on detailed regulation of cross-border provision of public information.

The circular is being drafted by the information and communications ministry for the implementation of Decree No 72, to be issued on July 15, 2015, on the management, provision and use of Internet services and online information.

As technology site ICTnews reported, Ha said among providers of social networking sites in Viet Nam, 99 per cent did not care about having a representative in the country, as written in the circular, because of their small-scale operations. Only about 10 companies followed the regulations, such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo, he added.

Ha said many firms such as TripAdvisor, Agoda and Alibaba were partnering with tourism and commercial enterprises. For example, many tourists book hotels in Hai Phong City's Cat Ba Island via Agoda, and several Vietnamese firms look for partners to export their products via Alibaba.

He said if these websites were asked to follow the regulations in the circular, this would have a great impact on the business of domestic companies.

Speaking at the seminar, Alex Long, a representative of Google, said the draft circular raised many concerns as it says international companies must have legal representation when providing information services in Viet Nam.

He said it was difficult to execute the regulation because many small-sized firms did not meet the requirements, and several others did not care about them. If they did not follow regulations, their services and information would be blocked, impacting users in Viet Nam, he said.

The participants at the seminar said the ministry has to issue a clarification on the regulation in the circular that asks foreign companies in Viet Nam to have legal representation.

Lawyer Nguyen Phu Thang from the Ha Noi Bar Association said the term legal representation has a broad meaning, and includes legal representatives, representative offices and authorised representatives. He said the circular must specify clearly about legal representation, and also what actions would be banned, fined or forced to stop operations.

Hoang Vinh Bao, director of the ministry's Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, said the circular has been drafted in accordance with related regulations, and followed the procedure of issuing legal documents and ensured commitment to the integration process to guarantee benefits to the country, individuals, local and international organisations and enterprises. He also said he expected to receive the opinions of companies and associations on the draft circular. — VNS

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