The burgeoning adoption of over-the-top (OTT) telecommunications services like Zalo, Viber, and Telegram poses a grave concern, as the existing legal framework fails to provide adequate governance, jeopardising the rights, safety, and security of users' sensitive information, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.
The Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung, presented a memorandum on the Telecommunications Bill (amendment) on June 2, underscoring the importance of digital infrastructure and the importance of ensuring network information security.
The minister emphasised the need for swift investment and development, aligning with the Party's directives, National Assembly resolutions, and government policies.
The draft law encompasses 10 chapters and 74 articles, aiming to simplify licensing procedures and encourage market entry for certain telecommunications services without network infrastructure. However, it also imposes stringent licensing conditions for services involving network infrastructure, telecommunications resources, and satellite networks to uphold safety and security standards.
Moreover, the draft law addresses significant aspects such as the recognition of data centre infrastructure and cloud computing as integral components of the digital landscape
Specifically, the draft law also introduces provisions for managing over-the-top (OTT) telecommunications services, which provide application software leveraging the internet, including popular platforms like Zalo, Viber, and Telegram.
While acknowledging the rapid growth and popularity of OTT services, the Minister and the Committee for Science, Technology, and Environment (CSTE) stress the need for legal oversight to strike a balance between facilitating innovation and ensuring user rights, service security, transparency, and accessibility.
Critics argue that the absence of robust regulations governing OTT applications could undermine the interests of users and raise concerns about data privacy and security. These concerns are particularly relevant as OTT services continue to erode traditional revenue streams in the telecommunications industry.
The CSTE supports an expanded scope of regulatory measures, covering areas such as data centers, cloud computing, and basic telecommunications services on the internet (OTT telecommunications). By doing so, they aim to align with evolving telecommunications trends and the accelerating digital transformation.
Efforts are underway to refine and perfect the regulations concerning data centre services, cloud computing, and the provision of cross-border telecommunications services to users within Vietnam. The objective is to ensure practicality while minimising potential obstacles in the implementation of these regulations.
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