The sale of the Chinese-language online newspaper came under close scrutiny after Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) accused the newspaper’s new owner, Singaporean Joseph Phua (潘杰賢), of accepting funding from China and intending to use archived data from Apple Daily (Taiwan) for purposes unrelated to running a news Web site, which would potentially also contravene the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法).
Press freedom, national security, data protection, and employee perks are all at stake in the sale of the newspaper, according to the Ministry of Culture. According to a statement released by the Ministry of Culture yesterday, Apple Daily (Taiwan) has been advised not to transfer personal data to a third party without proper authorization. The newspaper is also required to submit a thorough plan outlining how it intends to handle the data within ten days.
Lai in June reported the case to the Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office in Taipei. Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang, right, and researchers Ou Hsu-shao, center, and Hsu Kuan-tze yesterday attend a news conference protesting the handling of Apple Daily (Taiwan) ’s sale to Singaporean entrepreneur Joseph Phua. The sale involves various issues, such as freedom of the press, national security, personal data protection and workers’ benefits, the ministry said, adding that it on Wednesday sent a letter to Apple Daily (Taiwan) to remind its management that the way they collect, handle and use personal data should be in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act and other relevant regulations.
“We are asking the newspaper to stipulate a detailed plan to ensure the security of personal data in its possession. The plan should also detail how personal data would be disposed of after the business is closed. Such a plan should be delivered to the Ministry of Culture within 10 days,” the ministry said. Personal data must not be transferred to a third party without legal authorization, it said.
The act would protect most of the data possessed by the Apple Daily (Taiwan), including information about the newspaper’s employees, advertisers, freelance writers, and print and online content subscribers, the ministry said. Material by which personal information could be directly or indirectly identified is also protected by the act, such as annual tax reports and news material that has not been published, it said.
If a new company or platform is created following the change in ownership, the new management must not use the database if its use contravenes the act, it added. Apple Daily (Taiwan) on Wednesday said in a statement that the personal data of employees and subscribers, as well as published and unpublished material, would be destroyed after being archived for a number of years. The Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) states that information about current and former employees must stay in archives for five to seven years before being destroyed, while the Business Entity Accounting Act (商業會計法) stipulates that financial statements, tax reports and other related documents must be held for five to 10 years, the statement said.
Subscribers’ information would be retained, as some have yet to cancel their subscription and request a refund, it said. “We will also comply with the Article 21 of the Enforcement Rules of the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法施行細則) and archive published and unpublished material,” the newspaper said. Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.