Premier Lin Chuan (林全) yesterday confirmed that 35-year-old Audrey Tang (唐鳳), a tech prodigy and former adviser to BenQ and Apple, is to join the Cabinet in October as a minister without portfolio.
Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) first broke the news yesterday morning, which Lin confirmed in the afternoon, when he was asked about the appointment by reporters on the sidelines of the 2016 Taiwan Sustainability Summit in Taipei.
Lin said Tang’s achievements in the digital industry and open government projects have been recognized worldwide.
“Our hope is that by inviting her to join the Executive Yuan team, she could contribute in the said fields. Her role as a minister without portfolio will be different from the others: Instead of participating in drawing up bills, she is expected to assist government agencies in building communication platforms for all kinds of public policies and putting government information to good use,” Lin said.
Tang has been called an Internet prodigy who taught herself computer programming when she was eight.
At 16, she launched a start-up computer company and “retired” at 34. Since then she has been an active member of the open source community and a major contributor to g0v.tw (零時政府), which seeks to improve transparency in government and dissemination of public information, and vTaiwan, a platform for the government to solicit and integrate public opinion and promote communication.
Tang, who is currently abroad, confirmed the appointment on her Facebook page.
She said that from 2014 to last year, she served as an adviser to the Executive Yuan’s plans in making virtual-world regulations, and is a committee member of the National Development Council’s open data advisory committee and of the 12-year education course development committee.
“I have also been collaborating with the French ministries of foreign affairs and economy, Paris’ city government and Madrid’s city government on digital governance,” Tang said on Facebook.
She said that after becoming a member of the Cabinet, she expects to be “a civil servant of civil servants, that is, through the use of digital technologies and systems, to assist the government in solving problems and to enhance communication and cooperation between government agencies and civil technology and community,” she said.
“My presence [in the government] will not be for certain communities to have easy access to the administration, nor will it be for ‘policy announcements’ on the Internet. Rather, it will be a ‘channel’ for the better combination of wisdom and power,” she added.
Tang’s appointment will not only significantly lower the average age of the Cabinet, which has been criticized for being too old, but also mark a milestone for gender equality. Tang was born male and did not change her gender and name until 2005.
COSTLY TECH FAILURE: More than 25,000 files for nearly 8,000 students from 81 schools were lost when system administrators updated a server, the Ministry of Education said The academic records of 7,854 high-school students have been lost due to a hard-drive failure, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. The records were being stored at National Chi Nan University, which was commissioned by the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration to host a computer server of student portfolios that universities could access to evaluate their applications. Under a program introduced in 2019 for high-school students starting that year, students are to create portfolios to be used for university applications, which include their grades, extracurricular activities and other information related to their character and achievements. System administrators discovered that files were missing when rebooting
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
CONFUSING RESULTS: A New Taipei City worker tested positive for COVID-19 in a rapid test and a PCR test, but negative in a traditional nucleic acid test, the CECC said Travelers from Bangladesh, Brazil and Peru are no longer required to quarantine at a government center, and from Saturday can choose to quarantine at hotels, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The three nations are no longer considered “key high-risk countries,” as their COVID-19 case numbers have continued to fall, the CECC said, adding that no travelers from these countries have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 in the past two months. The revised classification would allow travelers from the three countries to choose where they stay during their mandatory 14-day quarantine, although they would be required to pay
‘TECHNICALITY’: The full moon was at 7:55am, but the Taipei Astronomical Museum said it technically remained a ‘real’ full moon when it rose again at night The Mid-Autumn Festival had a “real” full moon, the first time the astronomical categorization has fallen on the day of the festival since 2013, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said yesterday. The festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar — which this year was yesterday — does not always coincide with an exact full moon, the museum said. A full moon occurs when the Earth is between the sun and the moon — or, more precisely, when the ecliptic longitudes of the sun and the moon differ by 180° — which has a cycle of