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Taiwan human rights groups slam KMT legislator's privacy proposal

Taiwan human rights groups slam KMT legislator's privacy proposal

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Human rights groups on Thursday slammed a proposal by a ruling Kuomintang member to allow legislators special access to private data without informing the target.
Under the Computerized Personal Data Protection Act, official bodies need to apply for permission from a citizen before looking into his private information, but KMT legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang wants that restriction to be cancelled for lawmakers.
If legislators have to file an application to see the information, they will never be able to dig up scandals about officials, Hsieh said. The lawmaker said colleagues making wrong accusations would still be liable for prosecution.
The human rights activists described the proposal as an unacceptable expansion of power by lawmakers and as a potential disaster for privacy.
They want the opposition Democratic Progressive Party to file a different amendment including a ban on handling certain sensitive private information.
Current laws already failed to go far enough to protect citizens’ privacy, legal reform activist Kao Yung-cheng said. In addition, lawmakers had no right to complain because current public interest stipulations allowed them considerable leniency in pursuing scandals and corruption cases, Kao said.
Taiwan Association for Human Rights activist Chiu Wen-tsung said the present amendment proposals were the result of serious shortcomings with existing laws. Supervision of the practical aspects was divided over numerous local governments and organizations, making the stopping of leaks more difficult, Chiu said.
Other critics of Hsieh’s proposal say that private data about election candidates could be misused by their rivals. Election campaigns could be dominated by mudslinging and even blackmail of candidates and voters, critics said.
The DPP has vowed to keep up its opposition against the amendment, while the Ministry of Justice has taken a vague stance on the issue, saying it needed to study it further.


Updated : 2020-12-02 22:03 GMT+08:00