On July 15, 2013, the Government of Vietnam adopted Decree No. 72-2013/ND-CP regulating the management, supply and use of internet services and network information (“Decree 72”) which replaces Decree 97 dated August 28, 2008. Decree 72 also includes provisions regulating online games services which replace previous online game regulations. Decree 72 will take effect as of September 1st 2013.
One of new provisions of Decree 72 is Article 22 on Cross-border supply of public information. According to it, suppliers of “public information” having users in Vietnam or services being accessed from Vietnam must “comply with relevant rules of Vietnam”. According to some Vietnamese newspapers, this new provision would hopefully help control such organizations as Facebook, Google and other foreign suppliers of cross border public information, as they actually are not at all regulated in Vietnam. However, Article 22 is general and unclear, thus it is hard to imagine how it would be put into practice. In any case, detailed regulations must be issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication to clarify how to implement this issue in practice.
Another new provision which have caused much criticism amid concern that it may restrict freedom of speech and press in Vietnam is the classification for the first time of websites into five different types: (i) electronic newspaper in form of website; (ii) general information website; (iii) internal information website; (iv) private information website and (v) specialized website (Article 20). However, some representatives of Ministry of Information and Communication ensures in the Vietnamese press that such classification of websites is aimed at imposing specified rules to each type of website to effectively protect intellectual property rights of press organizations.
Also of particular note is Article 16 on domain name dispute resolution. Though this Article 16 is not really new, because similar provisions can be found in different previous detailed guiding documents, for example in Circular No. 10/2008/TT-BTTTT dated December 24, 2008 of the Ministry of Information and Communication, or Decision No. 73/QD-VNNIC of the Director of Vietnam Network Information Center…). However, the fact that such provisions scattered in different documents have been gathered and codified for the first time in a Decree issued by the Government may be considered as a great step forward in dealing with the complicated issue of domain name dispute resolution. A Special Feature on domain name resolution in Vietnam by D&N International will be published in the near future on its website.