Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - Page 4 News List

NFB reveals FETC oversight method

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Freeway Bureau (NFB) said yesterday that it would inspect and oversee the operations of Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection (FETC) using four major standards.

Freeway bureau Deputy Director-General Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) said these were the company’s efforts to protect freeway users’ personal information, manage eTag accounts, charge toll fees accurately and improve customer service.

Wu said the bureau had deemed it a major error that some drivers using eTags were charged toll fees twice for the same trip.

As stated in their contract, the company must rectify the errors or face penalties from the bureau, he said.

Addressing the problem of stored money not being shown in users’ accounts, Wu said this happened because of a sudden increase in transactions that had to be processed by the electronic toll collection system, which in turn slowed down the system’s operation.

As some convenience stores — where users can pay money into their eTag accounts — still have to upgrade their systems, the updated account information cannot quickly be sent to the FETC database, Wu said.

Wu said the system has become more reliable and users can find their accurate account balance within two days after they paid money into their eTag accounts.

He added that the company would compare their user transactions with those recorded at convenience stores every day to identify discrepancies.

Separately, Minister Without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政) said last night that the Executive Yuan’s Office of Information and Communication Security has found that the crash of the eTag mobile phone app on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 was a result of faulty programming, rather than being attacked by hackers.

The Executive Yuan previously endorsed the FETC’s statement that the eTag app had been hacked 8.2 billion times in 3.5 hours on the two days.

Chang yesterday said there was an 80 to 90 percent chance that there was a problem with the eTag app’s programming, because the program keeps the app active once it is run by a user, even when the user closes it.

The calculation that the app was hacked 8.2 million times in 3.5 hours was also incorrect, Chang said.

The company simply multiplied the maximum connection attempts per second, instead of looking at the number of actual connection attempts during the 3.5 hours, Chang said.

Later yesterday, the FETC issued a statement to apologize for a flawed app developed for mobile phone users, which was meant to allow users to check their account balances.

It also apologized for falsely identifying the reason for the malfunctioning application. Previously, it said the application froze because the system was being hacked.

FETC general manager Chang Yung-chang (張永昌) said he would suspend his salary and be held responsible for these errors, the company said.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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