The Ministry of Justice expects to propose amendments to the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法) within three months to prevent wiretapping abuses, Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said yesterday.
The ministry has begun to review 5 percent to 10 percent of the wiretaps that were carried out between December 2007 and last month to see whether they were done strictly according to the law, Luo told members of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
The review, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month, is to be followed by hearings and discussions as the ministry studies reform proposals put forth by lawmakers, Luo said.
She expects to submit draft amendments to the Cabinet for approval and hopes they can be sent to the legislature by February for review and passage.
Questioned by lawmakers from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and opposition parties who demanded swifter action, Luo said the process will take time because of the sheer number of wiretaps to be examined. She denied that the ministry was trying to “sweep the issue under the carpet.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said a single warrant for wiretapping should not cover an entire case or all the means of communication by an individual suspect.
A court warrant should be required for each medium of communication, including landline telephone, cellphone and Web-based methods of communication such as LINE, Kuan said.
Judicial Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Chiang Jen-hsiu (姜仁脩) responded to Kuan’s suggestion by saying that he respected the lawmakers’ right to propose amendments.
Luo said her ministry will first need to find out how much extra work Kuan’s proposal would entail.
Lawmakers are discussing amendments to the Communication Security and Surveillance Act in the wake of the Special Investigation Division coming under fire over its alleged abuse of wiretapping powers and the way it has conducted wiretapping investigations.