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Vietnam consults ahead of biometric database law implementation

Vietnam consults ahead of biometric database law implementation

Government authorities in Vietnam have been sharing views with concerned parties on how to ensure the effective coming into force of a new law that allows the setting up of a multi-biometric database for identity verification.

This week, the Southeast Asian country’s Deputy Minister of Public Security, Nguyen Duy Ngoc, spoke at a conference in which he explained the raison d’être of the legislation which was passed by parliament last November, SGGP English reports.

According to the new legislation labelled ‘Law on Identification 2023’, DNA, iris and voice biometrics will henceforth be part of the personal information collected from citizens to be included in the national identification database. Before the law, just fingerprints and face photos were required for citizen identity enrollment.

Some challenges notwithstanding, the government believes the biometric citizen database will have a multipurpose function, including ensuring seamless citizen verification and authentication, location tracking in disaster situations, and crime management and control, among others.

Between now and when the law is expected to go live, the government says it remains open to feedback and suggestions from members of the general public regarding the implementation of the law.

As part of the consultations, the government organized a conference that brought together experts from the academia, industry and civil society, to discuss issues regarding the pros and cons of biometrics use and factors like data and system security, convenience, and cost of operation, which the government must keep in mind.

During the event, suggestions on ways of better addressing related issues such as data protection, exclusion and even digital fraud, were also shared. The stakeholders also looked at the advantages and disadvantages of each biometric type and called on the government to copy examples of successful citizen biometric database projects elsewhere around the world.

The new law on identification stipulates that a citizen identification card issued before July 1, 2024 shall be valid until the expiry date prescribed in the card, according to a LawNet explainer.

Vietnam has been increasingly adopting the use of biometrics for several purposes including some money transfer operations as part of its digital revolution.

Vietnam is a member of the ASEAN bloc which recently agreed to pursue collaborative plans for inclusive and interoperable digital public infrastructure to spur nation and regional growth.

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