When we reported on the new rules on data storage introduced in Vietnam and announced in August, we added: “We’ll no doubt see how operators and social media companies respond fairly soon.” We didn’t have to wait long for a response, though it came from a slightly different source.
In fact, the first major reaction has come in the form of a joint letter to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, from the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce Hanoi and the Asia Internet Coalition.
All have (jointly) said that the new regulation would make it impossible for companies to accurately assess the cost of doing business in Vietnam.
The new rules require technology firms to store their users' data locally and set up local offices. They will have to store the data onshore for a minimum period of 24 months.
According to Reuters, the US business groups have complained that the new regulation was creating uncertainty and could affect investment.
Their main complaint seems to be about the wording of the new rules, some of which is described as “ambiguous and creates uncertainty as to what compliance actions are necessary".
While this is hardly a major indictment, it does put the government on the spot as the three groups are requesting more detailed guidance on the interpretation of the regulations. And the response, if it arrives, will need to appear quite soon as the new rules, announced last month, are expected to take effect from the beginning of October.
The rules apply to technology companies as well as telecommunication operators and data storage providers.