Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Communications act flawed: report

Staff writer, with CNA

The Control Yuan has made available online the report of an investigation into the implementation of the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法), which points out a number of defects, including an eavesdropping case involving several people that could be decided by just a prosecutor and a judge.

The government has been unable to ensure people’s freedom from being illegally bugged, one of the investigating Control Yuan members, Li Ful-dien (李復甸), told reporters on Tuesday. The other two investigators are Yeh Yao-peng (葉耀鵬) and Lin Chu-liang (林鉅鋃).

Li said that the “Managing and Checking System of Communication Surveillance” set up by the Taiwan High Court is not strict enough and could allow law enforcement personnel to wiretap people who are in contact with targeted individuals or to add other telephone numbers to the list of approved targets without permission.

Taiwanese courts permitted 504,788 cases of eavesdropping from 2007 to last year, while the US had about 1,000 to 2,000 cases per year in the past decade, according to the report.

However, the courts checked up on just 153 of the approved cases during the 2011-2013 period, representing an average of only 2.4 supervisory visits to law enforcement units during the period, the report found.

The report said cases can be assigned to a prosecutor and a judge, who are also responsible for renewing the case or adding targeted telephone numbers.

Taiwan falls short compared with certain other countries such as Germany, where cases are decided by judges who are on duty on a rotational basis, and the US, where cases need to be reviewed along with all previous data and can be subject to review by a different court, according to the report.

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