Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Legislators want tougher changes to privacy legislation

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although the government intends to toughen penalties for businesses and individuals leaking personal information, it might reject a proposal by key Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators which aims to dramatically increase punishment.

"The proposed seven-year sentence sounds awfully severe," said David Liu (劉佐國), a senior specialist at the Ministry of Justice's Department of Legal Affairs. "It's not only unfair to first-time offenders, it also goes against international practice."

While the ministry is aware of the DPP legislators' concerns, it may stick with its own amendments to the Computer-Processed Personal Data Protection Law (電腦處理個人資料保護法).

DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), however, said the Cabinet's revisions didn't go far enough.

"Heavier punishments always serve as a more effective deterrent," he said.

Tsai and two other DPP legislators, Chen Chao-lung (陳朝龍) and Yu Jan-daw (余政道), have called for a broader application of the law and for heavier punishment for people caught selling sensitive information.

The law presently protects only that personal information which is managed, processed, stored or distributed by computers, whereas the Cabinet's draft would cover all forms of personal information which could be deemed to be private and deserving of protection.

The punishment for those who leak personal information for commercial purposes would also be increased. While the current maximum sentence is a two-year jail term or a NT$40,000 fine, the draft would increase this to five years in jail or a NT$1 million fine.

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