Vietnam says Google may meet cyber law

HANOI • Vietnam is proposing to allow international Internet companies such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc one year to comply with a controversial cyber law that goes into effect on Jan 1 and requires them to open local offices and store data of Vietnamese users in the country.

The Ministry of Public Security posted a draft decree on its website last Friday on how the law would be implemented following the National Assembly’s approval in June of the legislation, which triggered protests. Vietnamese are allowed to comment on the draft decree, which must be approved by the prime minister.

The law drew dissent from some lawmakers and government leaders, as well as local tech groups, who sent a petition to the legislature that warned it would hurt the economy.

The legislation pressures Google and Facebook to choose between protecting the privacy of users or growth in one of the world’s fastest-expanding economies. The companies have not commented on the law and the government has not said how it would respond if they fail to abide by it.

Representatives of Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the draft decree, dated Oct 31.

The law, which requires companies to store at least 36 months of local users’ data in the country, also bans the use of social networks to organise anti-state activities, spread false information or create difficulties for authorities. — Bloomberg