Mon, Aug 11, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City destroys fingerprint records for 700,000 people

CLEAN START The prints were originally taken as part of a Ministry of the Interior campaign that was to have seen fingerprints included on identity cards

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

All fingerprint files collected from Taipei residents between 2003 and 2005 have been destroyed by official sanction, Taipei City Government Bureau of Civil Affairs Deputy Director Chen Chi-yung (陳其墉) said on Saturday.

Chen said computer disks containing the fingerprints of more than 700,000 citizens were cut and smashed at a factory in Taoyuan County on Friday.

On hand to witness the destruction were officials from the city’s Department of Government Ethics and from the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, as well as a third impartial party.

“In response to demands by the public and to prevent possible leaks of personal data, the information was destroyed,” he said.

Chen said that Taipei launched a fingerprint authentication and identification system in 2002 after the Ministry of the Interior discussed the possible inclusion of such data as fingerprints on new ID cards issued to replace the old ID cards that were issued in 1996.

The proposal was eventually canceled when the ID cards were replaced in 2006 out of concern about infringement of personal privacy.

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