Wed, Dec 07, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Legislature passes law on access to government data


The Legislative Yuan passed the Access to Government Information Law (政府資訊公開法) yesterday under which all government information must be made accessible except for national secrets, professional secrets, privacy information and intellectual property rights that must be protected.

Based on the principles of sharing information and government transparency, the government has taken reference from the examples of Sweden, Canada, Japan, the US and other countries when drafting the law.

The law states that its purposes are to protect people's right to know, to share government information and to increase the people's understanding of public affairs.

Under the new law, which replaces the Administrative Information Law (行政資訊公開法), the government must take the initiative in editing, indexing and filing all treaties, correspondence with foreign countries, laws, administrative decisions, administrative reports, budgets, research papers, procurement contracts and meeting records.

All the information must be categorized by subject, title, indexes, storage of original files, and periods to be kept on file within three months of being obtained, and then published in government publications or on government Web sites to facilitate public access.

All Taiwanese citizens, including those living overseas, and all companies and groups registered in the country, as well as foreigners whose native countries do not prohibit Taiwanese citizens from applying for access to their government information, can apply to gain access to the information.

Access to Government Information Law

* All government information must be accessible, except for national secrets and some other exceptions

* The government must edit, index and file all treaties, correspondence, and other government data

* Government information must be categorized by subject and title, and published in print or on Web sites

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