The National Assembly has adopted an new Cyber Security Law in the present session which has significant implications for both onshore and offshore service providers.
One of the key provisions requires foreign firms to have headquarters or representative offices, in Vietnam, which would include such companies as Google, Facebook and Yahoo etc.
The companies subject to the Cyber Security Law are domestic and foreign companies providing services to customers in Vietnam over telecom networks or the internet such as social networks, search engines, online advertising, online steaming/broadcasting, e-commerce websites/marketplaces, internet-based voice/text services (OTT services), cloud services, online games, and online applications.
In particular, the new law requires that owners of websites, portals, and social networks must not provide, post or transmit information against the Vietnamese government or inciting/prejudicing riots, security, public order, humiliation, slander, or untruthful information.
Domestic and foreign companies providing services over telecom networks or the internet or value-added services in cyberspace in Vietnam must comply with a host of requirements, including authenticating users’ information upon registration; cooperating with Vietnamese authorities to provide information on their users when such users are investigated or deemed to have breached laws on cyber security; storing information on servers in Vietnam and also complying with provisions on confidentiality of information.
The new law which was approved by over 85% of the NA is scheduled to come into effect on January 1st 2019. The Government will provide related information on the types of information required to be stored in Vietnam and the names of organisations that will have to set up headquarters or Representative offices in country.
The full reaction of international companies operating in this space is yet to be seen.
Kenneth M Atkinson
 Much of the information in this article is taken from Tilleke and Gibbons recent client alert www.tilleke.com