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The Electronic Beast Trap Is Around the Corner: the Digital Development Ministry Is Not What You Thought

icon2020/07/03
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The Electronic Beast Trap Is Around the Corner: the Digital Development Ministry Is Not What You Thought

 

United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan)

 

June 29, 2020


 Translation of an Excerpt

 

 

The Tsai government is planning the new functions of the National Communications Commission (NCC). One of the plans is to transform it into a "Digital Development Ministry", which will incorporate the information security units of the Cabinet and various ministries, and become the management ministry of five areas, i.e., information, telecommunications, network, information security, and communications. "Digital development" sounds magnificent, but looking at the organization, its important function in reality is for strengthening digital management and control, while the development component is sparse. Looking deeper, this move deprives the NCC of its independence, turning it into a tool at the disposal of the Cabinet.

 

The NCC is an independent agency of the Cabinet, responsible for the management of communications and broadcasting, as well as the television industries. It is set up to imitate the US Federal Communications Commission. Positioning as an independent government agency aims to avoid the interference of politics, maintaining transcendent independent operations. In the 14 years since the establishment of the NCC, we could hardly say that it has achieved outstanding results, nor has it been immune from political interference, but at least it is an independent government agency in form. Now the Tsai government wants to change it into the "Digital Development Ministry." One is that the proposed reform does not match the subject matter, while another is ulterior motives, and the third is expansion of authority under a pretext. This is something with which we can hardly agree.

 

Taiwan indeed must promote digital development, but it is definitely not to be carried out with the structure based on the current Tsai government thinking, nor can it be achieved by reforming the NCC. If the Tsai government is interested in digital development, it may wish to refer to the recently inaugurated "Hon Hai Research Institute". Its organization focuses on five directions, i.e., artificial intelligence, semiconductors, new generation communications, quantum computing and information security. The vista of this Institute is much higher the Digital Development Ministry of the Tsai government.

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