Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers raise concerns over online ads

DIRTY MONEY:Most obscene texts or graphics were found on social Web sites, with a large percentage of these having been placed by online gaming advertisers

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators Huang Wen-ling, left, and Hsu Chung-hsin hold pictures of obscene online ads from social Web sites at a press conference in Taipei yesterday, urging the government to investigate and punish offenders.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Lawmakers yesterday raised concerns over widespread obscene online advertisements on various social media Web sites, especially Facebook, and demanded increased efforts from government agencies to investigate and punish violators.

While the “Watch Internet Network (WIN) single e-window,” established by the Executive Yuan as a one-stop Web site to handle complaints, received 5,227 complaints about inappropriate online content last year, an average of 435 cases per month, the authority had not handed out any punishments, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.

Hsu said there are 13 million social Web site users in Taiwan, including 95 percent of young people. Most obscene texts or graphics were found on social Web sites, with a large percentage coming from online gaming advertisers.

Hsu said such ads could endanger young people’s mental health.

However, only 59 violators — Web site operators or advertisers — had been fined for violating the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法) between 2003 and last year.

The budgets spent on the content protection mechanism, an average of more than NT$8 million (US$267,000) annually between 2010 and this year, “has been a waste of public funds,” TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said.

The small number of punishments could attributed to the current process of handling inappropriate online content, which demands that violators initially only need to take down inappropriate content, according to Chang Chin-yuan (張金鴛), director of the Department of Protective Services under the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

“Only if [violators] fail to take remove such content after a specific period of time are they fined,” Chang said.

About 70 percent of violators’ Internet Protocol (IP) addresses came from abroad, making it harder to track and punish violators, said Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), director of the National Communications Commission’s Communications Management Department.

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