Net neutrality became a hot topic after the F.C.C approved net neutrality in the US earlier this week. It may be interesting to look at the situation of net neutrality in Vietnam. There is no clear or specific provision in Vietnamese law which requires an internet service provider to treat all contents transferred by its network equally and not to hinder or slow down applications and services on the internet. However, it may be useful to know that, in Vietnam:
- Internet access service provider is regarded as a telecom service provider rather than information service provider;
- An internet access service provider must not illegally hinder access to or provision of “legal” information or “legal” services in the internet;
- An internet access service provider must not refuse to provide services or unilaterally terminate services unless there is breach by the customer, there is a request by the authority, or the provision of service is not technically or economically feasible as certified by the authority;
- An internet access service provider must give priority to emergency information concerning defence, security, natural disaster, and diseases;
- Vietnamese language content or application is encouraged in the internet;
- “Useful and positive” information is encouraged in the internet; and
- Only information which is legal in accordance with Vietnamese law can be transferred (including cross-border transfer) to Vietnamese internet users.
This post is based on research by Linh Pham, a legal intern at VILAF.