Vietnam’s Biometrics Collection: Digital Prison?

In Vietnam since July this year the collection of biometric data of citizens for identification purposes has begun. Prime Minister Fam Min Chin instructed the Ministry of Public Security of the country to collect data by scanning the iris of the eye, samples of voice, and DNA. This decision was made in accordance with the amendments to the law on civil identification in Vietnam.

According to the amendments introduced on November 27 last year, ID cards will be issued to all persons over 14 years old, and for citizens aged 6 to 14 years, receiving cards will be optional. The law also includes the inclusion of information about blood groups in the national database along with other DNA information, which will be accessible to various state bodies.

The Ministry plans to integrate the identification system into the national database to facilitate interaction between different departments. The collection of biometric information will be done voluntarily, as well as in criminal proceedings or with administrative measures.

Future identity certificates in Vietnam will combine several functions such as medical insurance cards, social insurance books, driver’s certificates, birth certificates, and marriage certificates. With the country’s population of approximately 70 million adults, the task of collecting and protecting such data seems challenging.

Physical identity certificates in Vietnam will undergo changes: while the form of cards will remain the same, the content and the issuing authority will change. The Ministry of Public Security, not the police department, will now be responsible for issuing the cards. There will no longer be fingerprints on the cards, but instead, a QR code linked to extensive identification information will be included.

The chairman of the National Defense and Security Committee, Le Tani, expressed the belief that the iris of the eye is suitable for identification as it remains constant over time and can serve as a reliable basis for confirming one’s identity. Local media noted that the changes in the law reflect the current trends in the digital society of the country.

The measures implemented in Vietnam may cause anxiety and confusion among citizens of other countries, and

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.