Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Council expands, finalizes draft bill on political data

DECLASSIFIED:The draft proposes that all pseudonyms and concealed names be made available, except for information that might infringe on a person’s privacy

By Chen Mei-ying  /  Staff reporter

The National Development Council has finalized a draft bill for a political data act (政治檔案條例), proposing the disclosure of the identities of people involved in historical events and the declassification of all political files dating back 30 years or more, provided they do not compromise national security.

Whether the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法) should be enforced has been a source of contention in discussions about the proposed political data act, with veteran political activist Shih Ming-te (施明德) saying that perpetrators of political events have largely been shielded by the nation’s current policy on declassifying political files.

National Archives Administration officials have reached a consensus on maximizing transparency by allowing the declassification of political files to bypass the Personal Information Protection Act if parties directly concerned with a historical event request that files be made public, administration deputy director-general Chen Hai-hsiung (陳海雄) said.

To aid efforts to establish historical facts, the draft bill proposes that all codes, pseudonyms given to public officers, witnesses and whistle-blowers, as well as all names concealed in files, be made available, with the exception of information that may infringe on their privacy, such as their health, which could be filtered out before they are duplicated for other uses, Chen said.

The scope of the bill has been expanded from political files related to government agencies to also include files on political parties, their affiliates and businesses they operate, he said.

The bill is poised to declassify all political files, except those protected by Article 24 of the National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法), which are permanently classified, he said, adding that the procedure for declassifying files would be kept simple and conducive to such efforts.

Although the political archives act is based on the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), it would not be subjected to the framework of the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), which deals with events during the 228 Massacre and the ensuing White Terror era, but to the broader Archives Act (檔案法), he said.

The council, as the governing body of the act, would be tasked with collating, preserving political files and forming guidelines on disclosing the files, while files that possess educational and academic value would be used by the National Human Rights Museum, the Ministry of Culture, Academia Historica and Academia Sinica.

To ensure swift passage of the proposal, the council has given the public a preview of the bill on its Public Policy Network Participation Platform and is expected to submit the bill to the legislature for review during the next legislative session. The Executive Yuan has listed it as a priority bill.

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