Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday demanded that the Ministry of Justice complete an assessment of the impact of enforcing a controversial and long-stalled amendment to the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法) within two months, but he did not set a date for its implementation.
Chen issued the directive at a Cabinet meeting after the ministry presented a briefing on preparatory work on drawing up the necessary enforcement rules for the legislation, which was passed by the legislature in April 2010.
The amendment pertains to the 1995 Computer-Processed Personal Data Protection Act (電腦處理個人資料保護法), which was renamed the Personal Data Protection Act in the amendment.
The scope of the act was broadened and the definition of data was no longer limited to “computer-processed data.” The amendment applies the act to all individuals, legal entities and enterprises that collect personal data, not just government agencies and designated industries as at present.
The revised act stipulates that individuals and agencies outside the public sector are allowed to collect and use generally accessible personal data in the “public interest” or “for interests that are greater than the protection of privacy.”
However, individuals can demand that their personal information not be used.
The party collecting the personal data, which covers information from which it is possible to identify someone whose identity is unknown before collecting the information, will have to inform and seek the consent of the individuals involved, unless stipulated otherwise.
Furthermore, the party collecting the personal data must indicate the purpose of the collection, identify itself and explain how the personal data would be used.
Mass media were exempted from being required to seek consent from individuals before publicizing information about them, if the data gathered and the reports are “in the public interest.”
The act also excludes personal data accessed during private and family activities, and the posting of information about group photos or videos on the Web sites of electronic social networks from the prior consent requirement, as long as the information or materials were acquired at “public places or open activities” and no other personal information is revealed.