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Taiwan launches personal data protection unit preparatory office

Move follows string of data breaches in both public and private domains

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Miniatures of people with computers are seen in front of binary codes and words 'Cyber attack' in this illustration taken July 19, 2023. REUTE...

Miniatures of people with computers are seen in front of binary codes and words 'Cyber attack' in this illustration taken July 19, 2023. REUTE...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Cabinet on Tuesday (Dec. 5) inaugurated a preparatory office aimed at establishing a Personal Information Protection Commission, emphasizing the commitment to safeguarding citizens' privacy rights.

This newly established office will play a crucial role in drafting and amending regulations related to personal information, as well as overseeing initiatives dedicated to ensuring the safety of people's data. Additionally, the office will research relevant technologies and promote programs to enhance data protection.

In its initial phase, the office will be staffed by 36 individuals, with plans to expand to 89 in the future. The formation of the Personal Information Protection Commission is expected to be done by August 2025, a mandatory requirement by a Constitutional Court ruling in 2022.

Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) hailed this initiative as a significant milestone, citing successes from countries like Japan and South Korea that have implemented similar independent supervisory institutions. He underscored the importance of establishing such a commission in Taiwan to uphold constitutionally guaranteed rights, providing a solid foundation for the development of digital trade.

Chen also stressed the necessity of securing personal information for public benefit, citing examples such as the exchange of relevant data among government agencies and medical institutions to enhance healthcare services, including diagnosis and treatment.

Recent years have seen Taiwan grappling with high-profile incidents of personal data leaks in both the public and private sectors. Security breaches have been reported in systems like household registration, car rental, ride-sharing apps, and department stores, attributed to cyberattacks and a lack of cybersecurity awareness within the corporate realm.