Tue, Sep 18, 2018 - Page 1 News List

NSA changes mulled to limit fake news

‘GHOSTWRITERS’:The government is considering amending rather than proposing new laws, but is not thinking of detaining people for spreading fake news, sources said

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The government is planning to amend the National Security Act (NSA, 國家安全法) to stop the spread of false information on the Internet, government sources said yesterday.

The nation’s biggest online bulletin board system, Professional Technology Temple (PTT), has been infiltrated by Chinese ghostwriters and fake accounts, the sources said.

They are manipulating online discussions and cooperating with China to create false information and fake news, and to spread rumors online, they said, adding that pro-China media then distribute these rumors, resulting in social conflict.

The Ministry of the Interior, the National Police Agency and the National Immigration Agency are examining regulations to address their shortcomings, the sources said.

The agencies have not decided whether to approach the issue from the perspective of national security or social order, they said.

However, they would not propose legislation that would allow people to be detained for three days for spreading false information, as some legislators have suggested, they said.

The agencies would not propose new regulations, but rather amend laws and regulations, such as the National Security Act, the sources said, adding that amending the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) would not be a priority.

If they decide to propose changes to the National Security Act, it might involve the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and national security agencies, the sources said.

The agencies are still carefully drafting plans and nothing has been settled yet, they said.

The goal of the amendments would be to ensure that information spread online is correct, and to prevent false information from spreading, they said.

Several academics have suggested that Article 2-1 of the National Security Act, which prohibits people from providing confidential information or developing organizations for official use by a foreign country, be amended to include “online armies.”

Government agencies are assessing the feasibility of this suggestion, the sources said.

False information and fake news must be contained at the source, they said, adding that only by finding the source can the government convince the public that the information is incorrect.

The government will deploy technology to uncover the sources of false information and punish them, the sources said.

If the false information originated from China or other foreign forces who are intentionally spreading it to attack the government and engage in online psychological warfare, the government would discuss measures to handle them and ensure that there will be laws to deal with them, they added.

The Ministry of the Interior has advised Internet users to judge whether the information they receive is true before forwarding it.

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