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Taiwan digital ID delayed until privacy regulation passes

No timetable yet announced
Taiwan digital ID delayed until privacy regulation passes

Taiwan’s government has pulled out of a NT$4.8 billion (roughly US$171 million) digital identity (eID) card trial in Hsinchu City, due to information security concerns.

Originally due to launch in July 2021, the card system was designed to fuse current Taiwanese identity cards, with Citizen Digital Certificates, meaning government services would be accessible online, reports Taiwan News.

The digital ID also incorporates the National Health Insurance card and driving license information, as well as having access to government databases, however only some personal information will be readily available. Only medical staff and pharmacists will be allowed to write data onto the eID’s.

The distribution of the cards will be suspended until new legislation is able to safeguard privacy and protect information from potential cyber-attacks.

A workshop at Taiwan’s Risk Society and Policy Research Center found that many participants do not agree with Taiwan’s data collection regime, including the lack of transparency around data regulation, according to the News Lens. In November 2020, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) led a lawsuit filed by 50 professionals, against Taiwan’s Ministry of Interior (MOI), demanding stronger data protection for the eID roll out.

Though there is not a timeline for when the new law will come into place, the legislation is planned to cover digital ID application, issuance, activation, data processing and collection. It will also regulate the collection and use of digital footprints, reports the News Lens.

The government says pausing the program now enables it to preserve its funding resources.

Taiwan’s previous digital strategies have included a “Smart Government Action Plan” designed to increase trust between citizens and government.

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