The Ministry of Culture should look into allegations that the new owner of the Apple Daily’s local branch is planning to transfer sensitive data to a new platform, Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said yesterday.
A source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said employees of the news Web site would soon be offered contracts so they could resume their work.
Singaporean entrepreneur Joseph Phua (潘杰賢) is to become the Web site’s new owner on Sept. 1. He is expected to offer Apple Daily employees contracts through his newly established local firm Long Cheng Creative Co Ltd (龍丞創意).
Photo: Lin Cheng-kun, Taipei Times
Lai said the company was established to circumvent Ministry of Economic Affairs oversight and enable it to obtain unsupervised access to the Apple Daily archives.
“The Ministry of Culture is the only government agency that can hopefully control this,” Lai said.
Phua’s earlier bid to take over the Apple Daily would have been based on stock purchases, but the deal was blocked by the Investment Review Committee, Lai said.
Long Cheng was registered as media-related business on June 7, one day before the Web site announced that Phua would be its new owner, Lai said.
If the local Apple Daily branch is to close down, it would have to remove all personal information from archived files, Lai said, citing the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法).
Lai said that he suspects that Phua intends to use archived data from the Apple Daily for purposes unrelated to running a news Web site, which would potentially also breach the act.
If Phua seeks to “authorize” other entities to use the data, the Apple Daily would have to ask all people it has interviewed for consent to the transfer of their data, Lai said.
Any unauthorized use of archived personal data gathered through research, subscriber data and Web domain names would breach the act, Lai said.
Hong Kong-based Next Digital last year stopped printing the Apple Daily in Taiwan, citing declining readership and advertising revenue, but it has continued to operate it as a news Web site.
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