NA deputies question speed of student computer programme

Although disbursement has been slow, so far 500,000 tablets have been given to disadvantaged students to help them with their education, as part of a Government programme.

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng spoke during the question-and-answer session of the 4th sitting of the 15th National Assembly (NA) on Friday morning.—VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

HÀ NỘI — Although disbursement has been slow, so far 500,000 tablets have been given to disadvantaged students to help them with their education, as part of a Government programme.

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng provided the information during the question-and-answer session of the 4th sitting of the 15th National Assembly (NA) on Friday morning.

Regarding the 'Internet and computers for students' programme, NA deputy Nguyễn Lâm Thành of Thái Nguyên Province asked Hùng to explain the causes for the delay in implementing the programme, which included a support package of VNĐ6 trillion (US$241 million).

Thành said the programme had not been implemented due to the delay in guidance from the information ministry.

Hùng said the programme had the goal of providing one million computers for students nationwide, of which 600,000 computers would be sponsored by businesses and individuals; and 400,000 computers would be given by the public telecommunications fund.

A total of 500,000 devices have been delivered to students across the country so far.

“The implementation is not slow, it is being deployed,” he added.

The fund of VNĐ6 trillion belongs to another programme, according to the minister. It is a budget for ministries, sectors and localities to upgrade information technology.

The programme is deployed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the information ministry has only given a recommendation on which area the fund should focus on to ensure efficiency.

The information ministry would soon make recommendations, he said.

Managing SIM cards, national database

In the last three years, the Ministry of Information and Communications has blocked 22 million SIM cards after their owners failed to provide sufficient personal information, according to the minister.

NA deputy Phạm Văn Hòa, of Đồng Tháp Province, asked about the continuing use of SIM cards to send spam texts and engage in fraud.

Hùng said the ministry had inspected and considered the responsibilities of each telecommunications business regarding the issue.

The ministry was taking responsibility for the problem and it would develop better solutions to fix the situation in the future, he said.

Also asking about the same issue, NA deputy Tao Văn Giót of Lai Châu Province said some individuals used SIM cards to create fake social media profiles to post malicious information. Giót asked when the internet environment in Việt Nam would be more strictly managed so that it would truly become safe.

Hùng said it was hard to completely eradicate these kinds of SIM cards. However, measures could be made to reduce their use.

He said the ministry would conduct a general inspection of telecom service providers to deal with situations in which one person has many SIM cards.

NA deputy Nguyễn Danh Tú of Kiên Giang Province said according to the ministry’s report No. 158 on standardising and authenticating subscriber information with the national population database, the goal is to complete the authentication this month. It means that less than a month remains to review and authenticate 58 million mobile subscribers in the country. Tú asked the minister about the feasibility to finish the goal.

Hùng said that the authentication of information was in the form of 'yes or no' questions, and nearly 90 per cent of the information collected is correct so far.

The Prime Minister ordered the goal to be completed this month, therefore, the ministry would make efforts to realise the goal, he said.

Also at the session, NA deputy Lê Thị Song An of Long An Province said recently, the number of high-tech crimes and acts of fraud to steal social media accounts, as well as fake messages from banks, had increased.

An asked Hùng to point out solutions to deal with the issue.

Hùng said online fraud was a problem not only for Việt Nam but also many other countries around the world.

Lately, the ministry had improved legal documents to clearly define behaviours, specifying the administrative handling process and fines for the violations, he added.

The ministry had also issued several hotlines to receive complaints about online fraud, he said.

It had applied information technology to scan and prevent websites showing signs of fraud; focus on handling SIM cards, which are used to send spam texts or execute fraudulent activities; and delete subscriber numbers that do not have complete information or have incorrect information, he said.

NA deputy Đỗ Chí Nghĩa, of Phú Yên Province, asked Hùng about the most radical solution to prevent the harmful effects of malicious information online, while the manpower of the information and communication sector was limited and Việt Nam has dozens of millions of accounts on social networks, including many accounts with foreign addresses.

Nghĩa suggested the best solution would be to improve public awareness of malicious information.

In response to the question, Hùng said in the digital space, fake news spreads very quickly and widely. At present, the authority had issued a number of decrees specifying the acts and responsibilities of related parties; reducing the time for service providers to remove false and malicious information from 48 hours to 24 hours.

Now Việt Nam had increased the level of administrative punishment for spreading false and malicious information to three times higher than in the past. However, the fine was only one-tenth compared to other countries. The ministry would advise the Government to consider raising the sanction to improve deterrence in the future, he said.

Preventing false and malicious information was really difficult, he said, adding that the best solution would be to have proactive participation of all ministries, branches, organisations and individuals, he said.

Hùng also agreed with Nghĩa’s suggestion on improving public awareness of malicious information.

Thus, the ministry had proposed the Ministry of Education and Training bring digital skills training to students, he said.

In the meantime, NA deputy Trần Thị Thu Hằng of Đắk Nông Province said the connection, sharing and exploitation of national databases, especially the national population database, with the databases of ministries, branches and localities, had not been synchronised. Therefore, it had not really been effective and convenient for people when they conduct transactions.

Hằng asked Hùng about the causes, responsibilities and solutions of the information ministry in order to fix the situation, contributing to fulfilling the digital transformation of the country.

Việt Nam currently has eight databases, consisting of five national databases and three specialised databases that are effectively connected, according to the minister.

Every day, about two million transactions connecting agencies of the central and local level and ministries together are implemented. Besides, many other databases have been set up but not yet connected or shared; some information databases have been built but not yet qualified for connection.

"The ministry will continue to handle the issues to ensure more connections are made," he said.

Moderating the question-and-answer session, National Assembly Deputy Chairman Trần Quang Phương asked the Ministry of Public Security to report more on the national population database, data sharing as well as solutions for the future.

Minister of Public Security Tô Lâm said the national population database had officially connected and shared information with specialised databases of 12 ministries and sectors, four State-owned enterprises and the People's Committees of 15 localities.

However, the connection and sharing of national population data with ministries, sectors and localities encountered difficulties because the IT infrastructure of many ministries, sectors and localities had not been up to the task, he said.

Some ministries, sectors and localities had not digitised their data and processes to serve the implementation of administrative procedures in the electronic environment, thus, even though the national population database had been connected, the use of it was still very limited, he said.

The ministry would work together with other relevant agencies and localities to improve the connections, he said. — VNS