The Cabinet yesterday approved a draft telecoms management act and a draft digital communications act that would loosen restrictions on telecoms and Internet regulations, and a draft bill on international judicial cooperation that would facilitate international criminal investigations and prosecution.
A reasonable deregulation of the telecommunications sector is needed to develop broadband infrastructure and an innovative digital economy, which is the purpose of the two communication-related proposals, National Communications Commission spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.
The commission is scheduled to open up the 5G frequency spectrum in June 2019 to respond to the anticipated increase in the demand for 5G services, Wong said, adding that the draft telecom bill lowers the threshold for new telecoms to enter the market.
Currently, operators must obtain licenses before they can use designated frequencies to offer services, but the draft act would allow telecoms to enter the market following a simplified registration process, without having to secure a license.
The draft act would also allow operators to transfer or lease out frequencies, while allowing two or more telecoms to use the same frequency.
The digital communications bill is a basic draft offering a minimal regulatory framework for the Internet and would exempt Internet service providers from liability in the case of copyright infringement by customers who transmit or store unauthorized data.
Premier William Lai (賴清德) said the Cabinet approved an eight-year program to develop the digital economy last year and, coupled with the two communications acts and planned amendments to three TV and broadcasting laws, it would build high-quality and reliable telecommunications and Internet services.
Meanwhile, to bolster the country’s crime-fighting capacity, a draft bill on international cooperation in criminal proceedings has been approved, which would help the authorities seek reciprocal judicial assistance from other countries with evidence collection, information delivery, searches and seizure or freezing of assets to return criminals’ illegal gains to victims.
The proposed bill would authorize judicial authorities to guarantee immunity under Taiwanese law to foreign nationals summoned to testify in Taiwanese courts.
It also stipulates that the government would return confiscated illegal gains from criminal activities to victims upon the request of foreign authorities that represent the victims.
Lai said that a recent increase in international drug trafficking and money laundering has seen criminal rings exploiting legal differences between countries to elude investigation and prosecution.
The bill aism to close the loop by ensuring international judicial cooperation, Lai said, adding that the proposed legislation is also part of an effort to combat money laundering, as the nation is preparing for a review next year by the intergovernmental Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering.
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