The Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications (“MIC”) revealed a draft Decree on Electronic Identity Identification and Verification (“Draft Decree”). 

As online/electronic transactions have become more and more popular, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally crucial to verify and identify the one who conducts the transaction. While Vietnam has generally recognized the validity of e-transactions under various laws and regulations, in practice, only transactions conducted using digital signatures are fully valid and widely acceptable by the authorities. This said, registering for a digital signature could be complicated, cost and time-consuming for individuals. By the same token, the MIC proposed electronic identity under the Draft Decree as a simpler way for individuals to identify themselves in e-transactions.

First off, the Draft Decree only aimed at verifying identity of individuals during transactions/administrative procedures with Government authorities. However, the MIC then broadened the scope of the Draft Decree to all transactions, including those without the involvement of the authorities as well (such as transactions between service providers and customers). Nevertheless, using electronic identity identification and verification in e-transactions is not mandatory. The Draft Decree provides for conditions whereby identity of an individual in an e-transaction is fully identified.

In a nutshell, these are the key highlights from the Draft Decree:

  • Under the Draft Decree, electronic identity is classified into four different levels from Level 1 to Level 4, with the increasing level of security and reliability. Transactions that require the presentation of an ID Card and transactions with Government authorities can be conducted by e-identity Level 3 or above.
  • A service provider can set out the level of e-identity required for its services, unless otherwise requested by law. When the level is set and the customer already provides relevant e-identity, the service provider cannot ask for further information from the customer.
  • Although it’s not mandatory, the MIC encourages companies to use electronic identity to verify users/customers in electronic transactions.
  • The Draft Decree set out licensing requirements for companies providing electronic identity identification and verification service. The Draft Decree also regulates platform whereby companies can obtain and exchange information regarding electronic identity identification and verification.