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Vietnam Plans Code of Conduct to Protect Children Against Cybercrimes

The Ministry of Information and Technology is collecting suggestions for the draft Code of Conduct to protect children on the Internet, considering that virtual spaces possess both useful information and harmful content for the young. According to a recent press release, Vietnam now has around 15 million under-16 children, who are the most vulnerable to cybercrimes like bullying, attacks, and scamming.

Reports from research firms reveal that in Vietnam, the most popular websites for children under 16 are audio-visual sites, social networks, and computer games (accounting for 44.7%, 32.5%, and 8.6%, respectively). Given the high frequency of Internet use among the young, the Code of Conduct to protect children will be released to regulate behaviour on the Internet and shield children from potential risks.

Furthermore, the Code introduces methods to report suspected activities that could be abusing children and to raise the public’s awareness of possible dangers. The Code of Conduct has clear regulations for businesses, organisations that provide Internet services, online platforms, and digital content creators to prioritise the protection of children in cyberspaces. It also includes policies and ethical standards to promote safer cyberspace.

In June, the Prime Minister approved a programme to protect and support children to create healthy, innovative interactions in cyberspace, for the 2021-2025 period. It targeted preventing and handling activities that take advantage of the cyber environment to abuse children as well as promoting and maintaining a healthy Internet environment. It aimed to develop an ecosystem of useful domestic apps and products to help children learn and be entertained online. The programme has introduced various initiatives, tasks, and breakthrough solutions to exploit advanced technologies like big data to collect data and deliver early warnings for any potential content that violates laws or is not suitable for children.

The programme is the first national one in Vietnam for child protection on the Internet. Under the programme, a network to rescue and protect children on digital platforms was created. It also enhances public awareness, shares valuable experiences regarding the matter, and receives and promptly handles reports from the community about child abuse on the Internet.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued a directive on promoting the development and use of safe and healthy digital platforms. The directive is also expected to contribute to creating digital trust and ensuring the safety of Vietnam’s cyberspace. Over the last few years, digital platforms have made important contributions to the national digital transformation, and the development of the digital economy and digital society. However, information and data leakages on digital platforms still occur on an increasingly large scale. In fact, Vietnam recorded more than 3,900 cyberattacks in the first seven months of 2021.

The Ministry, therefore, requires businesses that manage digital platforms to develop platforms that are able to protect themselves and have tools to process and remove information that violates the law. In particular, owners of digital platforms must implement solutions to ensure information security and publicise measures to handle and protect personal information and collect personal information only with the consent of the users. These units are not allowed to provide, share, or distribute the personal information of users, except with their consent or at the request of competent state agencies.

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