Fri, Jan 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet says ban aimed at boosting national security

By Lee Hsin-fang and Sean Lin  /  Staff reporters

Icons of Chinese apps WeChat and Weibo are seen on a smartphone in a photograph taken on Dec. 5 last year.

Photo: Reuters

The Executive Yuan’s plan to create a list of Chinese-backed information and communications technology (ICT) products to be banned from government use is not meant to sanction Chinese businesses, but to bolster national security, which allows no gray area, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said yesterday.

Her comments came after several media outlets accused the government of imposing restrictions on Chinese-backed companies.

The plan, which is being drafted by the Executive Yuan’s Department of Cyber Security, is to be implemented in two stages, with the first being the publication of guidelines to be followed by central and local government agencies when procuring ICT products, she said, adding that they are due by the end of this month.

The second stage would involve the publication of a list of ICT companies and manufacturers to be banned from procurement by government agencies, which is likely to be announced in March, she said.

The policy can be traced back to two official letters the Public Construction Commission addressed to the Executive Yuan in 2008 and 2012 reminding Cabinet-level agencies that they should bar contractors that are involved in government projects from supplying Chinese-made products or contracting Chinese as technical advisers, she said.

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) underlined the importance of the nation’s information security when asked to comment on news that the Executive Yuan would soon file an injunction prohibiting civil servants at all levels of government from accessing Chinese online shopping platforms, search engines, social media and software.

“National security in modern societies is predicated upon the soundness of information security. The whole world is on edge as to how to uphold national security and Taiwan is no different,” the premier said on the sidelines of an event in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) shopping area to drum up publicity for designer Xiao Qing-yang (蕭青陽).

Xiao’s artwork, which was used on the cover of Taiwanese rock band the Chairman’s latest album The Offering, has been nominated for best recording package at this year’s Grammy Awards.

“We have the knowledge about how to avoid endangering national and social security in the rapid dissemination and application of information, so the government shall see to it that it leaves no loose ends in what needs to be done,” Su said.

The premier called for public awareness about information security, saying: “Security is everything. Only when there is national security can everything else be secured.”

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