Vietnam firm receives puny fine for selling personal information

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The Datanium website introduces services that provide personal information to businsses

A company in Ho Chi Minh City was fined VND5 million (US$240) Thursday for obtaining billions of dong by illegally providing individuals' personal information to businesses.

Datanium JSC in District 1 was fined under the Information Technology Law, for "providing people's personal information to the third parties via the Internet without their consent," news website VnExpress reported.

Nguyen Duc Tho, deputy chief inspector of the city's information bureau, said "the penalty is not enough to be effective as a deterrent."

Tho said the company had gained a large sum of money from the crime but that regulations only call for fines between VND2 and 5 million. Higher penalties, of tens of millions of dong, are imposed on Internet service providers or managers.

He said "changes are needed for more practical and adequate laws on the trading of personal information."

Inspectors from the department determined that from September 2010 onward, Datanium had provided hundreds of pieces of personal information to around 20 businesses, including travel agencies, advertising companies and banks.

It bought the information from various sources, which have not been identified and had the information confirmed by Teleservices Vietnam, a Hanoi-based business that functions as the bridge between employers and job seekers.

Datanium's Hanoi branch was registered in 2009 to supply telecommunication equipment, provide data solutions, and organize commercial events.


Vietnam police arrest personal information traders

But the firm soon entered the lucrative personal information market, with bold introductions on its website in both English and Vietnamese, saying the company was keeping millions of files of those who could be classified as high-end customers, from the owners of businesses to office workers.

Early this year, information security officers from the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security discovered similar syndicates in the city, Hanoi, and other places across the country.

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