Establishing National Comprehensive Database for Digital Transformation

9:53:24 AM | 7/10/2024

It is essential to build and develop a national comprehensive database as the main data pillar to create a foundation for building the digital government, promoting a digital economy and forming a digital society in Vietnam.

Building a national comprehensive database is essential to establish Vietnam's digital government, economy, and society

Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security is drafting the data law project to unify, synchronize and effectively use data for administration and social economic development, for digital government development and for administrative procedure reform.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam achieved positive outcomes in carrying out Party and State guidelines and policies on science and technology development, especially in data construction, creation, connection and sharing. For example, Vietnam initially created and formed seven national databases. Some national databases are interconnected and shared to help reform and simplify administrative procedures. The country paid more attention to building technology infrastructure for data centers.

However, there persist many deficiencies within the current framework. Notably, several ministries and agencies lack adequate infrastructure to support the deployment of essential information technology systems for their respective domains. There exists significant redundancy in the collection and storage of databases across different entities. The absence of an established consensus on standardized data categories poses substantial challenges in terms of integrating, sharing, and effectively utilizing data. Moreover, investments in data centers are characterized by asynchronous development, marked by varying standards and inconsistent adherence to technical regulations.

In addition, some central and local agencies that hire information technology infrastructure services are posed to many potential risks in information security because they have not really managed and controlled state data on their infrastructure. Human resources for operating and managing information systems are both lacking and weak. National databases according to the Prime Minister’s Decision 714/QD-TTg dated May 22, 2015 have not been fully developed. Many information systems have security flaws and are not qualified to connect with the National Population Database. It is difficult to use, interoperate and promptly provide data for administrative procedures, interoperate public services, statistical analysis, and introduce targets and indicators for administration.

Building a centralized database is a common trend in countries around the world today. Therefore, it is essential to build and develop the National Comprehensive Database as the main data pillar to create a foundation for building a digital government, promoting a digital economy and forming a digital society in the country.

At the same time, the national comprehensive database helps create and form reliable and stable State data systems to launch connection solutions to share, reuse and develop in-depth data analysis models/applications to generate new values, new products and services and new driving forces for socioeconomic development in the digital transformation period.

In particular, the investment for upgrading, expanding and storing information in the National Comprehensive Database will save a lot compared to investing in separate systems to store this information. Information stored in the National Comprehensive Database will also be shared for common use by central and local agencies. Data management agencies do not have to establish additional connection and sharing channels for information that has been added and stored in the National Comprehensive Database.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, after being reviewed, 69 laws have regulations on databases (including national databases and specialized databases), records for requesting data regulations in the Law on Electronic Transactions 2023, the Law on Cyber Security, the Law on Network Information Security, the Law on Telecommunications 2023, the Law on Information Technology, and the Law on Digital Technology Industry.

Based on current legal regulations and practical surveys by the ministry, central and local agencies have built databases for administration, including seven national databases and nearly 100 specialized databases.

In fact, only a few laws regulate the responsibility and accountability of database management agencies in building, collecting, managing, operating, connecting, sharing, mining and using information in the database. However, all laws do not specify or unify regulations on data processing and management (such as collection, digitization, quality assurance and data storage). There are no regulations on high-tech development platforms and applications in data processing; no regulation on the creation of a database compiled from national databases and specialized databases for directing, operating and planning guidelines, policies, socioeconomic development, administrative procedure reform, public services, and guaranteed interests for organizations and individuals; and no regulations on data-related products and services developed in the world such as data exchanges, data intermediary services, data analysis and synthesis services.

Meanwhile, establishing a data market, building and developing data-related products and services today plays a very important role, which is considered a breakthrough factor to gradually form and promote the opening of a data market, use the data market as a driving force for data development and stimulate and promote digital transformation across industries and fields, increase competitiveness, and ensure digital transformation in our country.

The Government’s Resolution 175/NQ-CP dated October 30, 2023 on ratification of the National Data Center Project states that, by the fourth quarter of 2025, the center will be in operation and will be a place to store, synthesize, analyze and coordinate data and to provide infrastructure for central and local agencies. As a result, compiling the Data Law is extremely important, necessary, and urgent to ensure full coverage of contents and tasks that the Government defined in digital transformation; and enhance the effective use of information in databases for administration, data use and application in socioeconomic development, tighten personal data and non-personal data management, and ensure information security and safety.

By Duy Anh, Vietnam Business Forum