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Ministry of the Interior.

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News Release
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2019-09-10 13:00
Ministry of Interior: Cautious Procedure for Digital ID cards for information security

In responding to the petition of certain private groups to query the procedure and privacy problems of the digital ID card (known as New eID), the Ministry of Interior specifically clarified this matter. The New eID has been prepared after planning for a long time and proceeded in accordance with related rules and regulations with the protection of privacy and information security. The public is discreet in using the functions of the chip. Indeed, the public has higher protection and autonomy over their privacy and personal information as compared with the hard copy counterpart of the ID card.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the New eID is just the same as the hard copy ID card and is just for the authentication of identity. Data shown on the card is less than the national ID card currently in use with stronger function in countering forgery. Data on the chip will be encrypted for protection and may only be used after the public agrees to enter the access code or password. Furthermore, the New eID is just a key for identification by combining the national ID card with the citizen digital certificate. The public is free to stop using, reinstating or revoking the function. The public is also fully free whether or not to use different application services launched by different agencies in the future.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the New eID shows the most basic personal information such as the ID card number, name, date of birth and personal photo. Agencies may not need to use the function of the chip if they deem that the information provided on the card is sufficient for authentication of identity, and will not compel the public to use the electronic services. The Personal Information Protection Act also governs the use of personal information of the public by the public and private sectors for the protection of personal information in its entirety.

The Ministry of Interior mentioned that the Household Registration Act has provided the legal reference for the production of the New eID. The privacy and information security is also under the fully covered protection of the Personal Data Protection Act, Cyber Security Management Act and Electronic Signatures Act. Indeed, the New eID will be produced and applied on the foundation of these laws and it is not necessary to have further legislation.

Whether the data on hard copy of ID card will be tracked on record or not when applying for any form of public service will depend on the agencies providing the services. Yet, they cannot use the data “beyond the professed purpose.” Likewise, the Ministry of Interior has not kept record of this kind. In the future, the New eID will also be protected by the framework of the Personal Information Protection Act whereby the use of personal information beyond the professed purpose is strictly prohibited. Indeed, the public will even be more protected when using the New eID when compared with the use of the hard copy ID card in the protection of privacy and information integrity.

The Ministry of Interior also clarified the public in their query as to the lack of invitation to the bidding procedure of the Central Printing Factory. The New eID entails the system side and the card making side. For security reasons, the card making proceeded through an invitation to bidding in according with the Government Procurement Act. The offer is exclusive and the award will be granted to only one maker. If there is no suitable substitute, the offer will be restricted such that the Central Printing Factory will proceed to the purchase of materials for the cards and equipment for card manufacturing. This is in compliance with the Government Procurement Act.

The New eID is also associated with a system. The Ministry of Interior mentioned that this will be installed at the computer room under security management of the Ministry, and will be open to invitation for bidding after the detailed planning is completed. The report on detailed planning is under review by the external experts and scholars. Upon the completion of the review and related revision, the Ministry will open the invitation for bidding. In the future, the detailed plan will guide all the operations.

The public also queried about the removal of the website of the National Cheng Chi University on the minutes of the meeting of civic review in 2017. The Ministry of Interior explained that the opinions from the civic review has already been incorporated into subsequent planning for consideration. The exact content of the plan has already been adjusted over time. The information contained in that website was shut down last year (2018) to avoid confusion of the public and for assurance of the update and accurate information to the public.

The Ministry of Interior explained that the launch of the New eID is not accomplished all of a sudden but after lengthy study and discussion over 6 years. A study on the combination of the national ID card and citizen digital certificate has been started since 2013. A substantive plan for the advocacy of the smart ID card has been studied in 2015 through outsourced researches, seminars, international conferences and workshops for communications of all sectors of the society and for the convergence of opinions. In 2018, the National Development Council presented the smart government blueprint to the Executive Yuan to show that the New eID is an integral part of the infrastructure of a smart government. This card is purely for identity authentication and not associated with the collection, processing, and use of personal information. This is indeed the basis of detailed planning.

The Ministry of Interior emphasized that the issuance of the New eID is just an alignment with the international trend in gearing up with the rest of the world and has been cautiously studied for years before launching. All are in conformity with operating procedures and in compliance with applicable laws. With the reinforcement of protection of personal information and information security, the public could enjoy various forms of convenient services of the government in the new era.