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Taiwan’s digital fence technologies draw international attention

Taiwan's phone-based tracking system to monitor quarantined people sought by multiple countries

Taiwan’s digital fence technologies draw international attention

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — More than ten countries have expressed interest in Taiwan’s digital fence system used to track people under quarantine in the battle against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

The apparatus identifies a person’s whereabouts based on the location of his/her mobile phone relative to nearby cell towers, which reveals the distance of the phone from a specific cell reception tower and its direction in relation to the tower. The mechanism, while not 100 percent accurate compared to GPS technologies, is favorable for its less intrusive nature to personal privacy, said Jyan Hong-wei (簡宏偉), director general of the Cabinet's Department of Cyber Security (DCS).

The electronic tracking system logs data including the number of people under quarantine, names of quarantine evaders, and those who have their phones turned off. Quarantined individuals venturing out will trigger alerts to health, police, and civil authorities, who will then respond.

First responders will only recieve a notification, the name, phone number, and the address of the person required to be in isolation to minimize the privacy infringement concern, wrote CNA.

This digital fence system satisfies the need for monitoring while protecting residents’ privacy and is an efficient tool in containing the disease. Countries including the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, and Italy have voiced interest in attaining the technologies, said Jyan.

The cybersecurity official also sought to allay concerns about inaccurate location readings, saying only 1 percent were false alarms. The government is currently working with telecom service providers to reduce errors stemming from poor signal reception.

Updated : 2021-09-22 14:51 GMT+08:00