Governments should work with civil society groups to tackle the challenges facing the world using information and communications technology, Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) said at a US-led democracy forum on Friday.
“Digital democracy” has proven to be the most effective solution to addressing modern challenges, Tang said in a panel discussion on “Countering Digital Authoritarianism and Affirming Democratic Values” at the Summit for Democracy.
She talked about how Taiwan implemented an SMS-based system developed by civic technologists to trace the itineraries and contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19.
Contact tracers are required to apply for access to data related to a person with COVID-19 through the platform, which prioritizes personal data privacy, she said.
Tang said that civic technologists in 2015 created Airbox, a low-cost device that can be installed outside schools or on household balconies to monitor air quality.
The concept was adopted by the government, which initiated a program the following year to set up about 2,000 Airbox devices across Taiwan, she said, adding that the number has grown to tens of thousands.
In that case, “citizen science supplemented our government’s limited capacity,” Tang said, adding that “people-public-private partnerships” can shape a digital democracy.
Tang’s remarks were streamed on the second day of the two-day summit, which was organized by US President Joe Biden’s administration “to renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad.”
A total of 110 delegations participated in the summit, including one from Taiwan led by Tang.
The summit focused on three principle themes — “defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption and promoting respect for human rights,” the US Department of State said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
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