[Vietnam] AIC Submits Comments on Decree 181 on Regulating Cross-Border Advertising Services (Oct 2020)

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The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) submitted comments to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Government of Vietnam on the amendments to Decree No. 181/2013/ND-CP on Elaboration of Some Articles of the Law on Advertising (“Draft Decree”). We believe the Internet has an immensely positive impact on society and supports the development of a transparent legal framework that would promote its continual contribution to Vietnam’s growth. Clear and consistent regulatory frameworks support the growth of Vietnamese tech enterprises and vibrancy of the country’s tech ecosystem, are consistent with Vietnam’s international trade commitments, as well as lay the foundation for the creation of meaningful partnerships that would facilitate innovation and enable digital transformation. To this end, we would like to offer our comments and recommendations on some key principles that would make for an effective regulatory framework:

  • Rule of law and Legal clarity: It’s important to clearly define what companies can do to fulfill their legal responsibilities, including removal obligations. A company that takes other voluntary steps to address illegal content should not be penalized. (This is sometimes called “Good Samaritan” protection.) Conversely, a lack of clarity in the definitions, procedures, and restrictions placed on companies will hinder efforts to implement and comply with regulations (e.g. due to misinterpretations of vague rules), and also cause undue increase in the cost of doing business for local, as well as, international developers and service providers. At the same time, to provide greater regulatory certainty, overlaps in regulation should be avoided. Provisions and requirements that already exist in another regulation should not be replicated.
  • Flexibility to accommodate new technology: While laws should accommodate relevant differences between platforms, given the fast-evolving nature of the sector, laws should be written in technology-neutral ways that address the underlying issue rather than focusing on existing technologies or mandating specific technological fixes.
  • Technical Feasibility: Provisions in laws should be technically feasible for internet companies to implement.