Attitudes toward privacy: from village culture to modern times

Privacy is an interesting topic of discussion in Vietnam. It has been influenced by village culture, an important component of the Vietnamese cultural identity.

Attitudes toward privacy: from village culture to modern times

As Vietnam is primarily an agricultural country, people like to live next to each other in the same areas. Many generations live together in the same houses, while people with close relations live in the same village.

The communal character of the Vietnamese is also the product of the subsidization period, when everything was considered collective assets. The State then held pervasive power and had the right to intervene in all aspects of life, including the problems of all families and individuals. For example, one would have to report to ‘leaders’ about the person with whom they were in love.

When fixed telecommunications landlines appeared in Vietnam, a publishing house released telephone directory books. Each family got one book where they could find the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their families and other families as well.

At that time, people generally were happy even though their privacy was infringed upon.

However, with doi moi (renovation) and hoi nhap (integration), Vietnam has been influenced by a western lifestyle. Personal values, including privacy, are respected.

Laws and the reality

Vietnamese laws now have provisions to protect individuals’ privacy. The Constitution, Civil Code and Criminal Procedure Code were compiled by lawyers who studied in other countries, which explains why they included provisions that strongly protect privacy.

The Constitution says that everyone has an inviolable right to a private life, and that no one has the right to open, control or illegally seize other people's mails, telephone calls, telegraphs or other forms of communication.

The Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that searches of residences, the examination and temporary seizure of mail, telephone calls, electronic data and other forms of communications must be implemented in accordance with the provisions of the code. This means that state agencies can see personal data only if they receive an official decision about prosecution.

However, recently, when drafting legal documents on e-commerce management, a state management agency attempted to set a regulation that e-commerce websites have to provide online tools to state management agencies so that the agencies can see their data at any time, not just when there is a sign of violation.

In other words, if officials want to find out how many dresses someone's wife bought from Lazada last year, they just need to log in to the database.

When drafting legal documents on e-commerce management, a state management agency attempted to set a regulation that e-commerce websites have to provide online tools to state management agencies so that the agencies can see their data at any time, not just when there is a sign of violation.

 

Every time when salesgirls ask to give my phone numbers to make a customer card, I ask them: “Will the warranty policy be applied to products I buy today if I don’t give you my phone number?”

If the answer is ‘yes’, I will not give my telephone number. If the answer is ‘no’, I won’t buy the products.

There are many regulations about privacy protection, but they are not actually applied.

One day, I won a prize at a competition. The organization board showed my photograph and personal information on the website. I mailed the organization board and asked them to delete the information. The organization board refused to implement my request, saying that when I entered the competition, I signed an agreement which said the organization board has the right to use my photographs and personal information.

So citing some provisions of the laws, I said that even if I allowed them before to use my personal information before, I still have the right to ask to delete the information if I change my mind. And they still refused my request.

Finally, I told them that if they did not do what I requested, I would send a petition to appropriate agencies about their violating the law, for which they may be fined VND30 million. They agreed to remove the information.

One day, I heard a dialogue between the director of a Vietnamese business providing platform services and a lawyer. The lawyer was concerned that if he used the service provided by the firm, his information may be exposed to the public. “No worries,” the director replied, reassuring clients about information security.

Then the lawyer smiled and said: “What if a state management agency comes and asks you to show them my information?” The director only said: “Only when you do something wrong will you be scared."

The lawyer said: “No. They are different categories – wrongdoing and privacy. I have enough body parts. There's certainly nothing wrong with this. But I still don't want people to see all of my body parts. As a Vietnamese, I want to use Vietnamese service. But I have decided to use foreign services because I think the services are better at information security. Sorry."

The fact that state management agencies want the right to see the data of Vietnamese enterprises turns out to help enrich foreign companies and foreign platforms.

Privacy also is sometimes viewed as covering property rights. 

Nguyen Minh Duc

Experts warn of high risks for information security in 2021

Experts warn of high risks for information security in 2021

Still coping with difficulties caused by Covid-19, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) also face risks in information and data security in 2021.

Information security risks for SMEs in 2021

Information security risks for SMEs in 2021

Not only facing difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam will also face many information safety and data security risks this year.

 
 

Other News

.
Electricity prices still not falling despite oversupply
Electricity prices still not falling despite oversupply
FEATUREicon  27/05/2021 

The Electricity of Vietnam’s (EVN) latest report showed that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in electricity demand. The real electricity output in 2020 was 247 billion kwh and the additional charge growth rate was 3 percent.

Goods face strict customs inspections as smugglers continue to violate laws
Goods face strict customs inspections as smugglers continue to violate laws
FEATUREicon  27/05/2021 

The General Department of Customs (GDC) said that risks in transit services continue to exist as smugglers try to carry prohibited goods into Vietnam.

Vietnam's post-pandemic economy
Vietnam's post-pandemic economy
FEATUREicon  27/05/2021 

As the Covid-19 pandemic persists, Vietnam's economy will still face many difficulties, but the country has the potential to increase productivity and develop at a higher rate than many other countries.

Share prices rise, strong cash flow emerges
Share prices rise, strong cash flow emerges
FEATUREicon  26/05/2021 

Vietnam’s stock market made a spectacular breakthrough in the first months of the year with the VN Index staying at the 1,200 point threshold and some blue-chip prices strongly increasing.

Vietnam considers tracking bracelets for quarantined persons
Vietnam considers tracking bracelets for quarantined persons
FEATUREicon  26/05/2021 

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) wants people to wear a tracking wristband during and after their concentrated quarantine period. The estimated production cost is $35.

Taxing unoccupied villas: one solution for creating fair housing market
Taxing unoccupied villas: one solution for creating fair housing market
FEATUREicon  26/05/2021 

A reasonable taxation policy is expected to help settle several problems, including excessive investment in high-end apartment and villa projects, and speculation buying.

Hard-hit bsinesses still paying high interest on loans
Hard-hit bsinesses still paying high interest on loans
FEATUREicon  25/05/2021 

The latest Covid-19 outbreak has pushed enterprises into new difficulties at a time when it is nearly impossible to access cheap capital sources.

Litchis sell well on e-commerce sites
Litchis sell well on e-commerce sites
FEATUREicon  26/05/2021 

Nguyen Van Lan’s 2-hectare litchi orchard in Luc Ngan district in Bac Giang province is ready for harvest. However, he still doesn’t know what to do to sell all the 40-50 tons of litchis amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tourism sector suffers another hit from recent Covid outbreak
Tourism sector suffers another hit from recent Covid outbreak
FEATUREicon  25/05/2021 

Businesses have sustained a new blow from the fourth recurrence of Covid-19.

People's spirit in fighting Covid-19
People's spirit in fighting Covid-19
FEATUREicon  25/05/2021 

Recently, some businessmen told me that they are willing to contribute money to the Government to buy vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus if the Government launches a fund to supplement the budget shortage.

KPIs for National Assembly deputies considered
KPIs for National Assembly deputies considered
FEATUREicon  24/05/2021 

The National Assembly should study and develop a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) of delegates, including qualitative and quantitative values.

Vietnamese litchis: five years of waiting for the nod to enter Japan
Vietnamese litchis: five years of waiting for the nod to enter Japan
FEATUREicon  22/05/2021 

In mid-June, Vietnam’s litchis officially hit the supermarket shelves in Japan, priced at VND500,000 per kilogram and selling out after several hours.

"Tiger" mom in Hanoi helps daughter win Harvard scholarship
"Tiger" mom in Hanoi helps daughter win Harvard scholarship
FEATUREicon  22/05/2021 

Ngoc is very sparing with her praise. She said that compliments may make her kids conceited and believe they are good enough and don't need to continue to study.

Vietnam’s universities keen to 'go digital'
Vietnam’s universities keen to 'go digital'
FEATUREicon  22/05/2021 

Truong Tien Tung, former rector of the Hanoi Open University, one of the first schools going digital with 15,000 students following online courses, said he was familiar with the concept of ‘open education’ and ‘distance education’ as early as 1994.

Hanoi expands suburban areas, aims for sustainable development
Hanoi expands suburban areas, aims for sustainable development
FEATUREicon  22/05/2021 

Urban development in the 1960s and 1970s in Singapore and Seoul could be valuable lessons for Hanoi to map out its sustainable development.

Five female provincial Party Committee Secretaries run for National Assembly election
Five female provincial Party Committee Secretaries run for National Assembly election
FEATUREicon  21/05/2021 

Five female provincial Party Committee Secretaries have made strong commitments and shown their priority issues while running for election to the 15th National Assembly (NA).

Former rector says universities should share lesson plans, resources to improve quality
Former rector says universities should share lesson plans, resources to improve quality
FEATUREicon  25/05/2021 

Educators in Vietnam need to share resources, materials and experiences to enhance educational outcomes, said Do Van Dung, former rector of the HCMC University of Technology and Education.

20 years for Vietnam to become rich and strong
20 years for Vietnam to become rich and strong
FEATUREicon  24/05/2021 

If developing countries do not make breakthroughs during the golden population period, they will find it difficult to overcome the middle-income trap to become developed countries.

VN e-commerce platforms may lose home ground
VN e-commerce platforms may lose home ground
FEATUREicon  24/05/2021 

Vietnamese businesses need to prepare and move ahead to win the e-commerce race.

Renowned duckling ‘staff’ hang out at florist shop
Renowned duckling ‘staff’ hang out at florist shop
FEATUREicon  22/05/2021 

The pair of lovely ducks has become a source of joy for traders and children in a corner of Thiec market.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN