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STLI Quarterly Newsletter 2021 NO.01, Mar

  Privacy has become a headline hitting hot topic, pinned at the top of social media pages. Starting from 2020, many states have initiated legislative reform reviewing its domestic privacy legislation. Taiwan has followed this wave and has become active in reviewing its domestic privacy regime where more legislative reform has been proposed.

  The Personal Information Protection Act (‘the PIPA’) is the main comprehensive privacy legislation in Taiwan. Each industry sector may pass sectoral laws on personal information protection which sets out personal information protection requirements for each specific sector. Other areas of law which are outside the field of privacy, may have privacy requirements tucked in statutes. For example, statutes that govern labor law may have requirements governing personal information protection. Labor law is a common field that intersects with privacy law, as the hiring of employees or contractors often involve the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. In order to have a coherent understanding of the privacy regime of Taiwan, it is essential to pay close attention to legislation that are outside the subject matter of privacy but may have sections that impose privacy requirements.

  On 28 January 2021, the Ministry of Labor proposed an amendment to the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Insurance Act (‘the Act’).[1] This reform reviews insurance practice procedures. The purpose is to ensure that the rights of the insurer and insured are protected.

  Article 24 of the Act states that if there is an error or alternation of the name, date of birth, identification number of the insured, the insurer must notify the insured by completing a personal information alteration application form and attach a photo copy of the identification information or other relevant documents of the insured.

  The draft amendment amends Article 24 of the Act by inserting an additional requirement. If there is an error or alternation of the name, date of birth, identification number of the insured, the insured must notify the insurer. The explanatory memorandum notes that the reason for adding in this requirement is to ensure that the personal information of the insured is updated in a timely manner as to protect his or her rights. The insured should also have the duty to notify the insurer of any changes to his or her personal information. Article 41 of the Enforcement Rules of the National Health Insurance Act has also required the same duty on the insured. The draft amendment of the Act was open for public comment until February 2021.



  At the 3731st Executive Yuan meeting on Dec. 17, 2020, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) reported “Taiwan’s Tech Startups under Digital Transformation Trend”. MOST proposed the concept that constructing the innovating and creating ecosystem supported by cross-ministries. MOST is responsible for scientific research spin-off startups and their guidance, and the Board of Science and Technology is the platform connecting other ministries such as the Ministry of Economy Affairs and (MOEA) and Financial Supervisory Commission. The startups can obtain the support of cross-ministerial resources, thereby driving the transformation and upgrading of the industry.

  At the same time, MOEA announced the reform of the Technology Development Program (TDP). The research institutions funded by government are too cautious to do high-risk research because of current performance evaluating system. MOEA is trying to promote research institutions to engage in high-risk research through the adjustment of related systems. According to the investigation report of the Control Yuan in 2019, current assessment and control system for TDP may be too complicated to be complied, and may not be able to respond quickly to changes in technological development. Therefore, MOEA plans to adjust the current TDP assessment and control system to encourage research institutions to conduct high-risk research, and provide the legal environment benefit to the spin-off startups from research institutions.

  There are recent similar policies in other countries, South Korea has promoted “Korean New Deal” from July 2020, focusing on post-pandemic digital transformation and startups. Japan released “Mid-term Research Report on the Acceleration of Digital Transformation” discussing on leverage digital transformation base on digital technology demand during pandemic. Not only Taiwan, but Japan and South Korea are also thinking about how to create new momentum for the post-pandemic economy by promoting digital transformation and supporting startups. Transfer of R&D outcomes to industry will not be the only way to lead technology innovation, startups may be the key to transforming R&D capability into industrial creativity.

  COVID-19 has caused a serious impact to global economy in 2020 and will continue to 2021. Although the pandemic caused a global economic depression, it also brought opportunities to change the way of working. The industry can take this opportunity to find the possibility of transformation and upgrading, whether by introducing new digital technologies or investing in digital technology startups. And governments of various countries also have begun to promote digital transformation and support domestic startups for industrial transformation, especially through startups ecosystem. With crisis comes opportunity, countries in the world are already planning ahead for the new international economic situation after the pandemic is over.


  According to international research institutions to statistics, the estimate of 2030, the value of global AI will reach $ 15.7 trillion, and world GDP growth rate was 14%. The core of AI development is massive data, it changes in lifestyle and work patterns brought about by the COVID-19 epidemic, whether it is e-commerce, contact tracing systems, online meetings, or generate a large amount of data. Although the COVID-19 epidemics is a global disaster, it is a good chance to develop into the promotion of AI. It also provides a good opportunity for technological development and public interest balance.

  Taiwan’s AI development advantage based on its excellent talents and a complete industrial chain. Starting in 2017, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced the promotion of the "AI Research Center", focusing on biotechnology and medical care, smart manufacturing, smart services, and AI core technology R&D. In addition to creating AI tools and platforms, it is also hoped that the data generated during the research process can be used by the industry in the future and cultivate AI talents of different fields. On January 29, 2021, the "Taiwan AI Federated Learning Alliance" (TAIFA) was established to combine industry, government, academia, and research to lead medical, smart urban and rural, finance, manufacturing, cultural, creative and commercial fields. The goal of TAIFA is to train more accurate AI models, accelerate the development of Taiwan’s AI verification technology and applications. In addition, TAIFA upholds the spirit of AI sharing to conduct joint training, verification and deployment, and further achieve comprehensive AI application and field certification. It is hoped that the industry will jointly invest more talents, technology, funds, regulations, etc., to build a high-quality joint learning service and development environment in Taiwan. The objective of TAIFA is demonstrated the soft power of Taiwan's AI development to the world.

  In order to prevent the COVID-19 epidemics, Taiwan uses technology to prevent the spread which has attracted worldwide attention. In addition to importing AI in the medical field, which effectively shortens the screening time and assists physicians in clinical diagnosis. It is also used in population tracking to effectively analyze and track potential infections to prevent continued spread. However, contact tracing technologies involves the sharing of people's personal data, which poses a great risk of privacy, and the importance of data governance. It also caused a see-saw of public interest and privacy protection. Therefore, the founder of Taiwan AI Labs was invited to participate in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Montreal Annual Summit in December 2020. Conduct cross-border discussions on topics such as responsible AI, pandemic response, data governance, and how data collection meets privacy and human rights. Explain how Taiwan strikes a balance between privacy protection and public interest while preventing the epidemic of science and technology. The dialogue was enthusiastically echoed, and at the same time demonstrated that Taiwan plays a key role in the development of global AI.


  People have been paying more attention to reusing research data from government funding in recent years. Many countries focus on the policy about research data repository and infrastructure, which can be dedicated to three aspects: Firstly, funding agencies should permit research data repositories to adopt a different requirement or standard of data governance. Secondly, the government should ensure and distribute enough resource for managing research data. Thirdly, funding agencies allow research institutions decide their own data sharing policy, including data management, license, method of sharing, and incentive mechanisms. There are similar measures in Taiwan's research institutions, such as Marine Environmental Databank (MED) and Survey Research Data Archive (SRDA). Mechanisms of MED and SRDA in data using may be helpful to understanding how to develop government's policies and best practices related to the data repository. Besides, the government should continually provide the necessary funds and resources for research data infrastructure and explore the concept of the database right in order to strike a balance between human rights and data sharing.