Monday, April 26, 2010

Anti-Democracy move by legislature?

Lost in the ECFA debate is an apparent attack on media freedom, though the back story appears to be that it is a simple screw up with the bill as actually written... Taipei Times editorializes:
In its second reading of the amendment to the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法), the legislature passed the new, expanded version covering medical care, genetics, sex, health checks, criminal records, contact information and financial situation, as well as social activities and other personal data.

In addition, media and elected officials publishing personal information must obtain the approval of the party concerned before doing so. Even if it is necessary and in the public interest, one cannot identify the individual concerned.

Violators face criminal charges or an administrative fine, and compensation in a civil court case may reach NT$200 million (US$6.4 million).

Maybe legislators added this text because they are tired of sensational gossip, or was it because they want to prevent other elected representatives, media outlets or pundits from exposing irregularities?

They seem to care little that there are no examples of such legislation in other countries, or that such a law will place severe restrictions on the media.

According to Article 2 of the amended law, no information about individual activities, including “social activities,” may be “collected” or “obtained” by anyone, including media outlets, without the prior consent of the party concerned, even if the activity takes place in public.
Just wanted to bring this to your attention.

UPDATE: The legislature has hurriedly rewritten the draconian restrictions on personal data use for exemption of the media.

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Anonymous said...

Even IF it is a matter of public record.

Robert R. said...

mmm... overbroad.

"activities" seems to be poorly defined.
As anon mentions, is it now illegal to publish the voting record of legislatures without their explicit consent?

vin said...

I can't imagine what these folks (don't want to get more specific than that in identifying anyone)are thinking.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of the Anti Terror law they proposed a couple years ago that outlined cause for prosecution under the law as, "any act of terror planned or committed by three or more persons".

MJ Klein said...

this has serious implications for bloggers!

Michael Turton said...

Yes, I've been thinking about what it might mean for me.

Anonymous said...

This bill will certainly be a boon to all those KMT legislators holding American and Canadian passports!