Guidance on cross-border provision of public information

22 March 2017
As provided in Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP on management, provision and use of internet services and online information, dated 15 July 2013 (“Decree 72”), one of the policies on development and management of Internet and online information is the assurance that only lawful information in accordance with Vietnamese laws may be transmitted, including cross-border transmission, to Internet users within Vietnam. For implementation of this policy, the Ministry of Information and Communications (the “MIC”) issued Circular No. 38/2016/TT-BTTTT on 26 December 2016 detailing the cross-border provision of public information (“Circular 38”).

As defined in Circular 38, cross border provision of public information means the act of offshore organizations/individuals using websites, social networks, online applications, search services and other similar online methods to provide public information that users being organizations/individuals in Vietnam may access or use, wherein public information means, as defined in Decree 72, online information of an organization or individual which is made public to all entities without the need to identity the specific name or address of such entities.

Circular 38 requires that foreign entities providing public information for users in Vietnam to get access or use services (“information providers”) shall observe the regulations and laws of Vietnam, and shall cooperate with the MIC in addressing violations, if any. In cases where an information provider provides illegal public information to Vietnam, or refuses to cooperate with the MIC in addressing violations, the authorized management agencies of Vietnam may take necessary technical measures for blocking access from Vietnam to such illegal public information.

Regarding the cooperation between the MIC and information providers in addressing violations, Circular 38 provides that upon detecting illegal public information provided across a border into Vietnam, the MIC will notify the information provider of the violation and make particular requests for addressing the same, i.e. removing the illegal public information or blocking access from Vietnam (the 1st notification), and the information provider will have 24 hours from its receipt of the MIC’s notification for verifying and processing the same. If the MIC’s request is not satisfied by the information provider within the prescribed time limit, the MIC will issue a 2nd notification, and the service provider will have a further 24 hours to comply with the MIC’s request or feedback from the MIC. For implementing this cooperation mechanism, Circular 38 requires that an information provider who rents space in Vietnam for storing its public information for the purpose of providing service or has one million or more visitors from Vietnam per month shall notify the MIC of its contact details, comprising, for companies, registered company name and address, trade name, location of the main server for providing service, and contact person in the registered country and in Vietnam. The notification may be made directly to the MIC, via post or via email to

Circular 38 took effect on 15 February 2017.


Vu Hoang Ha Thu

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