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.
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