Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) yesterday said that her campaign against the Taipeipass (台北通) app has garnered almost 10,000 signatures since Friday, but exposed her to insults and threats by telephone and through social media.
It seems to be a “coordinated attack,” as all the messages follow a similar pattern, she said, citing as an example one saying: “We love the Taipeipass. Do not block the smart city plan. Stop interfering with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).”
Some people had left disparaging remarks and false information when signing up for the online petition, and there have been attempts to disrupt her communications on social media, said Miao, who is a member of the Social Democratic Party.
Photo: Cheng Ming-hsiang, Taipei Times
She jointly launched the campaign with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wu Pei-yi (吳沛憶), and independent Taipei city councilors Lin Liang-chun (林亮君) and Huang Yu-fen (黃郁芬).
Ko has been promoting the use of the app to access municipal services and said that it should be linked to COVID-19 vaccine information.
Announcing the petition, the four councilors said: “Ko and his officials are heading toward a Chinese style of exercising central control ... including tracking people’s movement, activities and transactions.”
Democratic institutions must respect the right to privacy, they said.
Taipei residents might want the capital to become a smart city, but they do not want “centralized control, tracking and mass surveillance,” they said.
The use of the Taipeipass should be voluntary, Miao said, accusing Ko of increasingly introducing mandatory schemes under the pretext of smart city efforts.
By increasingly collecting personal information of residents, the schemes contravene the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法), Miao said.
The Taipei City Government has been promoting the app as a “one-stop solution” for a large range of services, including as a platform to pay utility bills, taxes, parking tickets, reporting incidents to police and claiming benefits at stores.
The four city councilors said that Taipei residents are forced to use the app when accessing services including borrowing books at public libraries, obtaining student cards, paying school fees, participating in workshops organized by the city government, registering for childcare benefits and entering sports facilities.
Data security advocates have said that the app is prone to breaches that might affect national security, such as when services linked to the app are handled by Chinese firms.
Separately, Taipei city councilors have said that the legal basis on which the app operates and gathers data is unclear.
‘LONE WOLF’: The suspect was difficult to locate, as he did not use a cellphone, did not contact family and often lived in abandoned sites or parks, police said Taipei police on Thursday morning arrested a man accused of numerous burglaries and at least 14 incidents of sexual assault spanning more than 20 years, in what might be the nation’s most notorious crime spree in recent years. Sixty-year-old Tu Ming-lang (涂明朗) — who was yesterday placed in judicial detention, after a judge determined he was a flight risk without a fixed address — faces multiple charges of sexual assault and burglary, police said. A task force comprised of various law enforcement agencies arrested Tu as part of an investigation into an April 28 burglary in Daan District (大安), in which a
Ninth graders were asked to define “trolling” on this year’s standardized exam, reflecting efforts to make the test better reflect real-life situations. Adjustments to this year’s Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students were revealed on Sunday, after the last cohort of students completed the test over the weekend. The Ministry of Education solicited feedback about the test from teachers, who approved of the new question in the English portion. Not only was question No. 20 “very much in line with real-life situations,” but it also used a new style in which students were asked to ascertain the correct dictionary definition based
Taiwan is on alert for monkeypox, a rare viral disease that has caused 87 infections in 11 countries over the past three weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Saturday. The WHO on Friday convened an emergency session to discuss a sudden outbreak of monkeypox in North America and Europe. Since the beginning of this month, 87 confirmed cases and 28 possible cases have been identified in 11 countries. The countries with the highest case counts are England with 29 cases, and Portugal and Spain with 23 each. Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease occurring primarily in the tropical rainforest areas
ADAPTING: The CECC said the policy change would happen this week at the earliest, while PCR testing stations would be used to diagnose people and prescribe drugs The general public would be able to use a positive rapid test result that has been confirmed by a doctor for COVID-19 diagnosis starting later this week at the soonest, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 79,441 new local infections and 53 deaths. The center on Saturday announced that it was expanding the rapid test diagnosis policy to people living in indigenous townships and outlying islands, starting today. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, yesterday said the policy might be further expanded to include “all people” this week, at the soonest. He