Vietnamese lawmakers approved cybersecurity law on Google, Facebook

Vastavam web: Vietnamese lawmakers approved a controversial cybersecurity law on Tuesday, voting amid tight security following weekend protests over other legislation that turned violent in some parts of the communist country. The law, approved by 91 percent of attending lawmakers, would require Facebook, Google and other global technology firms to store locally “important” personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices in the country. The companies have pushed back against the provisions.

Security was tight ahead of Tuesday’s vote, with police manning barricades outside the National Assembly in the capital Hanoi. Some protesters on Sunday had derided the cybersecurity bill, which experts and activists say could cause economic harm and stifle online dissent. The United States and Canada had urged Vietnam to delay the vote and review the cyber law to ensure it aligned with international standards amid worries it may present serious obstacles to Vietnam’s cybersecurity and digital innovation future. The Vietnam Digital Communication Association (VCDA) said the requirements could reduce Vietnam’s gross domestic product by 1.7 percent and wipe off 3.1 percent of foreign investment. Trade and foreign investment are key to Vietnam’s economy.

It also raised fears about tougher restrictions on online dissent by requiring social media companies in Vietnam to remove offending content from their platforms within one day of receiving a request from the authorities. Vo Trong Viet, head of the defense and security committee which drafted the law, said the requirement to store data inside Vietnam was feasible, crucial to fighting cyber crime and in line with international rules.