On 04 May 2022, the Ministry of Information and Communication (“MIC“) released the Draft Law on E-Transaction (“Draft Law“) for public comment.

The deadline for comments is 4 July 2022. The effective date of the Draft Law has not been decided yet.

The Draft Law, comprising 104 articles and 11 chapters, is expected to supersede the existing Law on E-Transaction. The Draft Law proposes new regulations and requirements concerning digital signature, digital identity, trusted services, e-contracts, etc. These new changes will potentially affect various companies providing services to Vietnam.

Notably, the Draft Law proposed a brand new chapter (Chapter VII) to regulate digital platforms. This chapter appears to be Vietnamese lawmakers’ adoption of the EU’s latest legislative initiatives – the Digital Services Act (“DSA“) and Digital Markets Act (“DMA“). 

Notable regulations include:

1.         New definitions and requirements concerning Digital Platforms. The Draft Law classifies Digital Platforms into different categories, including Intermediary Digital Platforms, Social Network / Online Communication Network Platforms, Online Search Platforms, App Store Platforms, Online Advertising Platforms, Online Communication Platforms, E-Commerce Trading Floors, Cloud Computing Platforms, Operating System Platforms, Sharing Economy Platforms, etc. These platforms are subject to supervision from relevant authorities such as the MIC, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, or the State Bank of Vietnam.

2.         In general, providers of Digital Platforms will bear the following notable obligations:

  • To register their e-transaction system and ensure fulfillment with certain technical requirements concerning the e-transaction system;
  • To publish terms of service and privacy policies;
  • To provide tools/mechanisms for users to notify/report issues concerning violating information or quality of goods and services;
  • To remove information that violates the law; and
  • To protect the users’ privacy per this Draft Law.

3.         Large Platforms: An Intermediary Digital Platform that reaches a particular threshold of regular users and/or collects or manages data of multiple persons in Vietnam (to be determined by the MIC) will be considered aLarge Platform. Large Platforms will bear the following additional obligations:

  • To analyze any substantial systematic risks stemming from the function or the use of the platform, e.g., negative impacts on personal lives, freedom of press, children’s rights, national health and security;
  • To implement measures mitigating the above risks;
  • To report annually to competent authorities; and
  • To appoint one or multiple officers to supervise the compliance with the large platform’s obligations.

4.         Dominant Platforms: A Dominant Platform is a Large Platform that has a dominant position and plays an especially significant role in the market. The MIC will issue the list of those considered Dominant Platforms. The MIC seems to follow the EU’s DMA approach to regulate “gatekeepers” via this regulation. Dominant Platforms will bear the following additional obligations:

  • To provide an option to turn off algorithmic recommendations;
  • To notify users with the use of algorithmic recommendations on the platform in a clear and public manner;
  • To allow users to uninstall any application software that is pre-installed on the Dominant Platform, with such uninstallation not affecting the basic technical functions of the platform;
  • Not to use any algorithmic recommendations to (i) prevent users from making an accurate decision when buying goods/services, (ii) make users over-consume; and
  • Not to use data collected from the activities of sellers and service providers on the platform for the purposes of competing with the same sellers or service providers.

Manh-Hung Tran is the practice group leader of the Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology Practice Groups of Vietnam offices. For years, he has been constantly ranked as a leading IP lawyer by numerous researchers such as Chambers Global and Chambers Asia. He regularly writes articles concerning pressing legal issues in both English and Vietnamese, and his works have been published regularly in various reputable publications. He has assisted the government in reviewing and revising the IP Law, the IP provisions under the country’s criminal code, the draft e-Transaction Law, and the first draft Personal Data Protection Decree, etc. While Hung's practices run the full gamut of IP work, he also specializes in the Telecommunications, Media, and Technology (TMT) practice, advising multinational corporations on data privacy, monetization, product reviews, AdTech, regulatory and user rights, cybersecurity, e-commerce, offshore social media, digital services, data breach and incidents, and other emerging technologies. He has been assisting international film studios and streaming clients with various film and TV series productions in Vietnam.