The nation’s COVID-19 tracking system is flawed and incoherent, and the Executive Yuan does not fulfill its oversight duties, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Ann Kao (高虹安) said yesterday.
The TPP cited a complaint from a person surnamed Wang (王) who said that cloud documents created by National Chung Hsing University in Taichung are used in his community for registration and tracking.
However, completed forms were not forwarded to the government, while the data have to be deleted after 28 days, the TPP said.
Photo courtesy of the Taiwan People’s Party
The community learned about this when asking the university and the Centers of Disease Control’s 1922 hotline, it added.
The gathering of data is useless if the government does not receive it, Kao said, calling on the government to create a form for universal use to track the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan.
The Executive Yuan’s data collection efforts lack a general direction, Kao said, adding that the government should as soon as possible implement a centralized system that allows for real-time data collection and analysis, and has clear-cut rules on the gathering, use and disposal of personal data.
A good example for such a system is Singapore, which uses the TraceTogether program, a cellphone app linked with a physical token for those who prefer not to use mobile phones, Kao said.
The app offers daily updates on the movements of the city-state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases over the previous two weeks, including alerts for those who might have had contact with an infected person, she said.
The system automatically removes data after 25 days, Kao said, urging the government to implement a similar system.
A new system to track the spread of COVID-19 should take into account that the virus cannot be contained regionally and should integrate data gathered nationwide, she added.
TPP Legislator Chang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the Ministry of Justice should draft legislative amendments based on the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s standard that COVID-19 prevention data cannot be used for other purposes.
The amendments should ensure that information collected through the 1922 hotline, and the SMS registration and tracking program do not fall under the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法), he said.
The National Police Agency should also be notified that data collected for disease prevention should be off-limits for investigation purposes, Chang said, adding that this would help uphold people’s right to privacy.
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