Wed, Mar 06, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Legislators demand tougher legislation for candid cameras

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hoping to crack down on the increasingly prevalent practice of people using hidden cameras to invade the privacy of others, three legislators held a public hearing yesterday to discuss what should be included in new regulations to bar such activity.

There have been a growing number of complaints about photographs and video tapes published in the media or found on the Internet that were taken by hidden cameras in public restrooms, hotel rooms and the bedrooms of private homes.

Three PFP legislators -- Lee Yung-ping (李永萍), Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國) and Chen Chin-hsing(陳進興) -- sponsored yesterday's hearing. Representatives from the National Police Administration, the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Yuan, the Modern Women's Foundation and the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation attended.

"There is only Article 315 of the Criminal Code regulating personal privacy, and the punishment is light. Seeking a new regulation is the first step in our anti-taping campaign," Lee said.

Article 315 -- which prohibits the taping of private dialogue and conduct without the consent of the individual being taped -- was passed by the Legislative Yuan in 1999. It mandates a prison term of five years or a NT$50,000 fine for circulating such illegally taped material.

The numerous reports of such abuses reflect the seriousness of the problem, according to Judicial Yuan and Ministry of Justice officials, even though there have been no lawsuits filed yet under Article 315.

"It's very tough for us to find the evidence [to prosecute] secret taping and hidden cameras," said Wang Pei-ling (王珮玲), a representative from the NPA, alluding to the difficulty of locating such cameras.

Wang Ru-shiuan (王如玄), a representative of the Modern Women's Foundation, said the Legislative Yuan should draw up an anti-secret-taping law to regulate the use of hidden cameras and to force owners of public spaces -- such as hotels and shopping malls -- to bear responsibility for any illegal taping that occurs on their premises.

Other representatives attending yesterday's hearing all supported Wang's idea.

Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) on Monday promised a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Home and Nation's Committee to submit an amendment to the Architecture Law to the legislature within three months.

The proposed amendment would stipulate that stores, malls and other such public buildings that were found to have hidden cameras on their premises would lose their operating licenses.

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