Wed, Oct 15, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Al Gore stresses need for vigilance in `e-society'

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

In his keynote speech at the opening session of a technology conference in Taipei yesterday, former US vice president Al Gore cited Taiwan's recent suspected cases of bank fraud to highlight the importance of vigilance and precautionary actions in today's "e-society."

"This [bank scam] would be solved, no doubt," said Gore, referring to the series of fraudulent cash withdrawals at automated teller machines [ATMs] around the nation starting Thursday, the beginning of a long weekend.

Costly scam

Finance Minister Lin Chuan (林全) said on Monday that the cases of ATM account fraud are expected to cost banks at least NT$3.78 million.

"But it serves as an illustration of the need to have security in financial transactions and security in exchanges of information in order to protect the privacy of individuals and in order to protect the integrity of the business and financial system upon which we all depend," Gore told participants at the 37th International Carnahan Conference on Security and Technology.

Held at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, more than 400 specialists in security technology from 14 countries took part in the three-day conference. The theme of the conference is "e-security."

Noting that security questions will become tougher to deal with as e-society develops, Gore said, "It is yet one more reason why the deliberation of this ongoing conference is so important to the welfare and well-being of people in Taiwan, people in the United States and people all around the world."

Gore said that making good use of existing information is more important than collecting additional information about potential security threats.

Taking the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as an example, Gore said the tragedy could have been avoided if officials had taken precautionary measures to organize and analyze the information they already had about the hijackers. Gore said the authorities already had plenty of database information about the hijackers.

According to the event organizer, Gore, wishing to keep a low profile in Taiwan, had requested that his name not be mentioned on the conference's official schedule sent to the media.

Meeting with Chen

Prior to the opening session yesterday, Gore had exchanged a hand-shake and brief greetings with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who took the podium ahead of Gore as another keynote speaker at the event.

Gore's whirlwind trip was his first visit to Taiwan since he lost the presidential election in 2000.

Gore had planned to visit Taiwan in November 2001 to give a speech at the opening of the World Religion Museum, but the trip was canceled at the last minute following a warning by the US that terrorists might launch a wave of attacks.

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