Dr. Phạm Khánh Nam, vice principal of the HCM City University of Economics, speaks at the “Personal data in the flow of Việt Nam’s digital economy” conference last Friday in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo

Việt Nam must establish a robust legal framework to manage and protect personal data in order to drive its digital economic growth while ensuring the privacy and rights of its citizens, experts said.

Speaking at the “Personal data in the flow of Việt Nam’s digital economy” conference last week in HCM City, Dr. Phạm Khánh Nam, vice principal of HCM City University of Economics, said data management had emerged as a critical factor in driving economic growth. 

"Personal data is a productive resource in the data-based economy, and protecting personal data is crucial for promoting digital economic development," he said.

“Data is a valuable asset in the digital economy, and if properly exploited and processed, can bring numerous benefits to investors and the economy.”

Việt Nam ranked third in Southeast Asia in digital economic development and achieved a growth rate of 16 per cent per year, according to a Ministry of Information and Communications report.

"However, data breaches have become increasingly common, and it is vital to effectively manage and protect personal information," Nam said.

“The vulnerability of personal data has come to the forefront in recent years, with several major data breaches highlighting the potential risks,” he noted. 

One of the problems is that large technology corporations often unintentionally control individuals’ behaviour by packaging personal and business information, according to Nam.

This has posed a challenge to policymakers who must establish a policy framework that is fair and beneficial to all parties involved.

Nguyễn Thanh Hòa, head of the Electronic Information Department under the HCM City Department of Information and Communications, said countries such as Singapore, Japan, and South Korea had achieved strong economies by effectively controlling the flow of data.

However, Việt Nam had yet to succeed in ensuring the security of personal data, leaving existing vulnerabilities unaddressed, Hòa said.

In addition, the advancement of digital technology, especially artificial intelligence, required the processing of a massive amount of personal data, which posed challenges to individuals, as it limited their freedom to make decisions regarding their personal information.

Nguyễn Quang Đồng, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Media Development (IPS), said regulations surrounding personal data must be established in the context of Việt Nam’s digital ecosystem and its roadmap of technological development. 

As the digital space is global and data flows freely across borders, legal regulations must be adjusted in a global context to ensure equality and protect the rights of all parties involved, he added.

The event was organised by the Institute for Policy Research and Media Development and the College of Economics, Law, and Government of HCM City University of Economics. — VNS