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Thursday, January 10, 2019, 21:11 (GMT+7)
Cybersecurity Law - an important guarantee of human rights enforcement in Vietnam

The Cybersecurity Law (hereafter the Law) was passed by the 14th National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at the 5th session on June 12th 2018, and made effective since January 1st 2019. The hostile forces constantly resist against the advent of the Law, which proves that the Law is an important guarantee in implementing the rights and obligations of citizens in our country.

Failing to prevent the National Assembly from adopting the Law, hostile forces intensified their malicious artifices, particularly when the Government officially launched public consultation about the Draft Decree on the Law implementation. They made use of more tricks, triggering a wave of protests, obstructing the implementation and demanding to repeal the Law. They broadcasted on social networks that the Law on Cybersecurity "specifically violates privacy", "freedom of speech, the press, the internet" and "human rights" as well. Many news agencies, Western newspapers and foreign-based websites intentionally distorted and hindered the Law enforcement. In the United States, 17 radical MPs asked Google and Facebook to leave Vietnam. What is more, the European Council, in a resolution on Vietnam, had negative response against the Law, etc. It can be said that never before have the enemy forces had such a detailed plan to distort and remove any law like the one on Cybersecurity.

Reality proves that since the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), human rights, citizens' rights and interests have been ensured. These rights have been recorded, and consistently guaranteed throughout the Constitutions of 1946, 1959, 1980, 1992 and 2013. The entire chapter (Chapter II) of the 2013 Constitution centers on the regulation on "Human rights, basic rights and obligations of citizens". Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights have been fully regulated, compatible with the United Nations’ international human rights conventions that Vietnam participates in. Institutionalizing the 2013 Constitution, the National Assembly, since 2014, has amended and promulgated a number of laws to create a legal basis for all activities of individuals and organizations in general and to ensure human rights in particular. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, our country, throughout the process of renewal, continues to accomplish considerable achievements, in which social security remains stable. This serves as a prerequisite for human rights, especially basic ones, to improve much better. With regard to human rights as well as rudimentary rights and obligations of citizens, Vietnam only sets limits on acts of threatening national security, social order and safety; infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of individuals and organizations.

Recognizing the importance of science and technology and international integration, on December 1, 1997, Vietnam joined the global internet. Currently, Vietnam ranks top in terms of internet development and social networks in the region. In our country, the internet-based information-technology has been fully guaranteed and synchronized, including social networks: Facebook, Zalo, YouTube (clips, audio, images, subtitles) and other searching tools such as:,, etc.  This not only serves the economic and social development but also ensures that people benefit more from human and civil rights; in which there is freedom of speech, press, freedom of using internet, and social networks.

However, the advent of the internet and social networks has posed some new challenges. Mankind must face a complex information system, such as: difficulty in verification, false and harmful information about morality, lifestyle, mental abuse against people, etc. Politically, the internet and social networks have been exploited by hostile forces as new powerful weapons in their plot of overthrowing the regime, violating human rights as well as rights and interests of citizens. In Vietnam, hostile forces have been employing the internet and social networks as the primary means of propagating and fighting against our state. They hired hackers to attack the network, causing economic and social damages; typically, in March 2017, they hacked a series of domestic airport websites, which suspended flights, inflicting huge loss on the economy.

In the field of human rights, citizens' rights and interests, the internet and social networks have been turned into a tool of spreading false information because of conspiracies such as appropriation of property; spiritual terrorism, private life leaks, etc; disturbing families’ lives and even worse, leading to suicide. On 10 and 11 June 2018, hostile forces used this despicable act to provoke protests and spark unrest in some provinces, when The National Assembly discussed the Draft Law on Special Zones and Cybersecurity Law. Therefore, Vietnam needs the Law to establish a legal basis, protect national security, social order and safety, the regime, the State, human rights as well as citizens’ legitimate rights and interests.

The international political and legal basis of the Law is the national right to self-determination, which is recognized in the United Nations Charter in 1945 and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights in 1966 (which Vietnam joined in 1982). The right proves that the Law perfectly conforms to the international law on human rights, without harming national interests. Furthermore, this forms the legal platform for protecting national interests in the digital age. The Law helps safeguard Vietnam's electronic space and digital resources, as well as secure human rights.

The Law comprises of 7 chapters and 43 articles. Principles to protect cybersecurity are: 1. Comply with the Constitution and Law; ensure the interests of the State, legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals; 2. to be placed under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the unified management of the State 3. Incorporate the task of protecting cybersecurity, etc; ensuring human rights, civil rights, creating favorable conditions for organizations and individuals to operate in cyberspace, etc. (Article 4).

The Law, undoubtedly, does not “infringe on privacy, freedom of speech and internet rights.” It only imposes sanctions for the use of cyberspace to perform the following acts: 1. Anti-State act 2. Infringement of rights and interests of agencies, organizations and individuals; that is, (1) Organizing, operating, colluding, inciting, bribing, deceiving, enticing, training people against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; (2) Distorting history, denying revolutionary achievements, sabotaging the great unity of the nation, etc (3) Disseminating false information causing confusion among the people and damage to socio-economic activities, etc; infringing upon legitimate rights and interests of other organizations and individuals; (4) Prostitution, social evils, trafficking; uploading lewd information, crime; undermining national customs and habits, etc. (5) Inciting other people to commit crimes, etc (6) Abusing cybersecurity activities to infringe upon sovereignty, national interests, social order, safety, legitimate rights and interests of organizations, individuals or for personal benefits (Article 8).

Taking a look into the current legal system of Vietnam, it can be said that the Law adheres to the 2013 Constitution and other legal documents, such as: Press Law (2016); Law on Information Access (2016) and Government Decree on management, provision and use of internet services and network information, etc. With regard to human rights, the Law is in full compliance with the International Convention on Human Rights in general, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966) in particular.

In the world today, there are 18 member countries of the WTO (including: the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, etc) that require network enterprises to store their data in the territory of each own country. According to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, when the Law comes into effect, these enterprises must transfer data to Vietnam, which is completely feasible. Vietnam is a big market of Google and Facebook; as a result, these social networks have their own right to choose to go or stay; likewise, Vietnam has the right to select other websites. However, for the sake of our people, the protection and assurance of national security on cyberspace is always set as top priority.

The Law has absolutely no restrictions or violations to human rights, legitimate rights and interests of organizations, businesses and individuals. On the contrary, the Law is an effective legal tool to protect legitimate rights and interests so that businesses and people can escape from misleading information.

Thus, the negative reaction of hostile forces to the Law is understandable because it deprives them of powerful weapons to implement their conspiracies of sabotaging, overthrowing, transforming our regime into so-called exotic “democracy” and “human rights”. To our State and people, the promulgation and strict implementation of the Law is one of the important guarantees and effective measures to ensure human rights, legitimate rights and interests of citizens. This becomes a legal weapon to prevent and handle acts of abuse, contributing to the protection of national security, social order and safety, human and civil rights. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize and eliminate wrong hostile views, ensuring the effective implementation of the Cybersecurity Law.

Dr Cao Duc Thai, Vu Trong Lam, M.A.*

* The Academy of Military Logistics

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