Study required to bulk up e-transaction rules

November 11, 2022 | 10:50
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Vietnam’s existing Law on E-transactions has many shortcomings, and several crucial points need to be added for it to contribute to the accelerating digital transformation, experts have said.

The National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology, and Environment (NACSTE) last week suggested that the revised law need to cover a wider range of subjects for application, as well as additional regulations for data messages and e-signatures. These additions are important, contributing to the promotion of e-transactions in Vietnam, according to the committee.

Study required to bulk up e-transaction rules
Study required to bulk up e-transaction rules, source shutterstock

“The committee agreed with the regulation in the existing law on subjects of application, meaning the law shall apply to agencies, organisations, and individuals opting for transactions by electronic means,” said Chairman of the NACSTE Le Quang Huy. “However, the law has failed to mention those that have activities related to e-transactions between domestic organisations and individuals and foreign ones.”

In addition, the existing regulation on data messages “has created a legal basis for the conversion of traditional transactions to an electronic environment based on data messages and the legal value of data messages.”

A data message may be shown in the form of an electronic data interchange, electronic documents, e-mails, telegrams, telegraphs, facsimiles, and other similar forms.

“However, the current law has not clarified regulations on security, safety, protection of data messages, and measures to ensure the integrity and non-repudiation of data messages. The existing law has also failed to stipulate the time and place to send and receive data messages and the time to sign data messages,” said the NACSTE in a report on appraising amendments to the existing law.

“These are very basic and important contents of the data message, so the committee proposes to add the above provisions to the draft amendments.”

Moreover, the committee has also suggested that lawmakers add more regulations on e-signatures, which have been stipulated in the existing law but fail to meet new requirements on the digital economy and e-business activities.

Under the current law, an e-signature is considered secured if it is verified by a security verifying process agreed upon by transacting parties and satisfies various conditions.

“Currently, along with the use of e-signatures, there are several other authentication methods such as SMS, one-time passwords, tokens, and biometrics. Therefore, it is necessary to study and supplement more regulations to create a legal basis for these authentication measures as an e-signature,” noted the committee. “Besides that, there must be regulations on minimum specific standards for e-signatures and authentication of e-signatures so that people and state agencies can immediately apply them.”

The committee also underlined that when it comes to recognition and usage of foreign e-signature, in the draft amendments, it remains unclear which agency is competent to recognise the legal value of foreign e-signatures.

“Therefore, it is necessary to study and supplement more regulations on the procedures for recognising foreign e-signature providers, and the government shall be assigned to provide guidelines,” the committee said.

Vietnam’s Law on E-transactions has been effective since 2006 and is based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law for e-commerce.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, in recent years, the implementation and application of e-transactions have shown significant development in many sectors that need high levels of international integration, such as banking and e-commerce, but have faced difficulties in other sectors due to a lack of detailed guidance.

Moreover, with the strong growth and breakthrough development of digital technologies like AI, big data, biometrics, and blockchain, the existing law has revealed shortcomings, making it difficult for application.

“That is why the law needs amendments, so we propose that the latest version embraces suitable new regulations on big data, AI application, e-government, and e-administration,” said Huy of the NACSTE.

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