Minister of Public Security, Senior Lieutenant General Tô Lâm at yesterday meeting of the National Assembly. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
HÀ NỘI — Yesterday the National Assembly heard reports on the draft Law on State Secrets Protection and the draft Law on Cyber Information Security.
According to the Minister of Public Security, Senior Lieutenant General Tô Lâm, 840 cases of illegal revealing State secrets – including confidential documents regarding Party, State, and Government policies and direction for handling foreign affairs – have been discovered since 2001.
The leaks were blamed on a lack of consistency in State secret protection laws and a lack of effective handling mechanisms and strong deterrents, hence the need for a law on State secrets protection.
The law will concretise the 2013 Constitution, protect national security, ensure human and citizen rights, and create compatibility with secrecy and confidentiality agreements that Việt Nam has signed with other countries, Tô Lâm said.
The NA Committee for National Defence and Security mostly agreed with the draft, however, it urged for a broader definition of ‘State secrets’, beyond the current definition of only physical objects.
Some NA deputies also urged for regulations on ‘time windows’ for State secrets – i.e. how long State secrets remain confidential, or what levels of protection for them are needed after a certain time – to ensure freedom of information. Some suggested that State secrets involving national security and national interests could remain secret for as long as 50-60 years or indefinitely.
Also at the meeting, the NA heard reports on the cybersecurity law.
According to Tô Lâm, developments in internet security have presented new challenges for the country’s cybersecurity efforts and ensuring social order.
In the context of deeper international integration and the development of technology and science, the internet has become an ideal environment for hostile forces to attempt to undermine the State, inciting violence and social unrest, he said.
NA Committee for National Defence and Security said promulgating the Law on Cyber Information Security is a necessity to ensure national security and to display Việt Nam’s responsibility in co-operation with other countries in tackling cybersecurity-related terrorism.
Head of the NA committee, Võ Trọng Việt, said the committee agreed with the scope of the draft– which focuses on regulations involving national security on the internet and protecting the rights and interests of individuals and organisations on the internet.
Việt said there must be regulations on anti-cyber espionage, protection of State secrets and personal information, and that cyber crimes can be punishable by criminal law.
The committee also added that since cybersecurity is uncharted grounds for Việt Nam, the duties of each agency must be detailed clearly. — VNS