A Obstacles to Access 24 25
B Limits on Content 29 35
C Violations of User Rights 25 40
Last Year's Score & Status
79 100 Free
Scores are based on a scale of 0 (least free) to 100 (most free). See the research methodology and report acknowledgements.

header1 Overview

Taiwan hosts one of the freest online environments in Asia, though internet freedom declined this year due to concerns about overbroad and nontransparent website blocking. The information landscape is characterized by affordable internet access, diverse content, and a lack of internet shutdowns. An independent judiciary protects free expression. Civil society, the technology sector, and the government have taken innovative action to counteract the impact of disinformation campaigns originating from China. However, criminal prosecutions for online activities and concerns over disproportionate surveillance all threaten internet freedom.

Taiwan’s vibrant and competitive democratic system has allowed three peaceful transfers of power between rival parties since 2000, and protections for civil liberties are generally robust. Ongoing concerns include inadequate safeguards against the exploitation of foreign migrant workers and the Chinese government’s efforts to influence policymaking, the media, and democratic infrastructure in Taiwan.

header2 Key Developments, June 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023

  • Chinese commercial vessels severed the two submarine cables that connect the Matsu Islands and Taiwan in February 2023, leading to a monthslong interruption to high-speed internet for people on the island and raising national security concerns (see A1).
  • In August 2022, the government inaugurated the new Ministry of Digital Affairs to govern technology policy in Taiwan (see A5).
  • Law enforcement agencies sought to deploy a domain-blocking measure against thousands of websites implicated in criminal cases between November 2022 and May 2023, with limited transparency and oversight (see B1 and B3).
  • False information, some of which was linked to China-based actors, spread online during the November 2022 local elections and ahead of US lawmaker Nancy Pelosi’s August 2022 visit to Taiwan (see B5).
  • In June 2023, the Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of Taiwan’s defamation law (see C1).
  • The Legislative Yuan established an independent personal data protection authority in May 2023, following widespread criticism over its absence and a Constitutional Court ruling instructing the government to form one (see C6).

A Obstacles to Access

A1 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Do infrastructural limitations restrict access to the internet or the speed and quality of internet connections? 6.006 6.006

In general, there are no infrastructural limitations to internet access in Taiwan and the country boasts high rates of internet access. DataReportal’s Digital 2023 report placed Taiwan’s internet penetration rate at 90.7 percent and counted 21.7 million internet users.1 Other data sources recorded a slightly lower percentage: The National Communication Commission (NCC) reported in 2022 that the penetration rate stood at 86.3 percent,2 and the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) reported that the penetration rate stood at 84.3 percent for people over the age of 18 by the end of 2022.3

Users can get online via a variety of connection standards: Fixed-line broadband options include fiber-optic and digital subscriber line (DSL) connections, while mobile users rely on fourth- and fifth-generation (4G and 5G) technology. Free public Wi-Fi services are also available.4 According to the NCC, 6.6 million people, including more than 4.1 million fiber-optic users, were subscribed to fixed-line broadband networks in April 2023, and there were more than 30 million subscribers to mobile networks.5 According to TWNIC’s report, the penetration rate for fixed-line broadband users was 65.3 percent and the penetration rate for mobile broadband users was 81.5 percent.6 There are nearly 10,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.7

In February 2023, the two submarine cables connecting Taiwan and the Matsu Islands, a Taiwan-governed archipelago off the coast of the mainland, were severed by Chinese civilian vessels.8 The approximately 14,000 residents of the Matsu Islands lost high-speed internet until late March, when one of the cables was repaired, though Chunghwa Telecom deployed intermediate low-bandwidth internet services in the interim.9 Though an NCC investigation reportedly found no direct evidence that the incidents were deliberate, the cable cuts were widely understood as a national security risk; for example, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused the Chinese government of arranging the cable cuts.10 More minor cable cuts are common. According to one tally, illegal sand pumping vessels have cut the Taiwan-Matsu cables almost 30 times over the past six years.11

The government is dedicated to upgrading mobile services to 5G.12 Telecommunications companies stopped offering third-generation (3G) contracts in 2018.13 Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest telecommunications company, will stop providing 3G technical assistance for calls by 2024.14 Major service providers, such as Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, and FET, began providing 5G service in major cities and several other areas in 2020.15 The number of 5G service users reached about 7.3 million by the end of April 2023 and accounted for 19.59 prercent of all internet users, according to the NCC.16

Taiwanese internet users enjoy fast internet speeds. In January 2023, Ookla reported Taiwan’s median mobile download and upload speeds as 70.57 megabits per second (Mbps) and 13.78 Mbps, respectively. Fixed-line broadband download and upload speeds were reported at a median 129.32 Mbps and 59.35 Mbps.17

The Taiwan Academic Network (TANet), which is maintained by the Ministry of Education and several universities, provides the network infrastructure for educational institutions, including universities and libraries.18

A2 1.00-3.00 pts0-3 pts
Is access to the internet prohibitively expensive or beyond the reach of certain segments of the population for geographical, social, or other reasons? 3.003 3.003

There are no significant digital divides in Taiwan, although slight disparities remain based on geographical area and age. Internet access, especially on mobile networks, is affordable. According to a TWNIC report, 95 to 97 percent of users spend less than 1 percent of their monthly income on mobile network access.1 The Inclusive Internet Index 2022 report noted improvements in the cost of internet access relative to income; for example, the price of a 1 gigabyte (GB) postpaid mobile phone accounted for 0.26 percent of monthly income on average in 2022, compared to 0.72 percent of monthly income in 2021.2

There are digital divides based on geography, age, and education level. A 2022 TWNIC report found lower rates of internet penetration for people over the age of 70, people living in the south of Taiwan, and people with primary school education or below, as well as lower rates of use for various online platforms.3

The age-based disparity in access is gradually improving. In 2020, the National Development Council (NDC) reported that 86.6 percent of people above the age of 12 accessed the internet, compared to 77.6 percent of people between the ages of 60 to 64 and 46.8 percent of people over the age of 65. The ratios slightly improved compared to 2019.4

There is no significant gender-based digital divide. Some surveys report that men use the internet 2 to 5 percent more than women.5

Other groups have experienced a boost in internet access in recent years. For example, as of 2020, 96 percent of immigrants used the internet, a sharp increase from 72 percent in 2014.6 The government established the i-Tribe program to increase wireless broadband access for Indigenous communities.7 The program has reportedly improved people’s ability to access digital healthcare services and other information.8

A3 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Does the government exercise technical or legal control over internet infrastructure for the purposes of restricting connectivity? 6.006 6.006

The government does not intentionally restrict connectivity, and the country’s internet infrastructure is privately owned. However, the infrastructure bears the risks of damage or interference (see A1).

Taiwan’s four internet exchange points (IXPs)—TWIX, TPIX, EBIX, and TWNAP—are all operated by telecommunications companies, although TWNAP works largely as a data center and not an exchange point.1 The submarine cables connecting international networks are also privately owned.2 Chunghwa Telecom, 35 percent of which is held by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), lays the majority of submarine cables.3 In March 2023, the Financial Times also reported that a submarine cable project connecting Taiwan with Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong had been delayed for over a year due to objections from the Chinese government.4

A4 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Are there legal, regulatory, or economic obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers? 5.005 6.006

While users have a choice of service providers, certain companies dominate the market. The Telecommunications Management Act (TMA),1 which was approved in June 2019 and came into effect in July 2020, replaced the Telecommunications Act (TA) and relaxed some of its rules. There is a three-year transition period for telecommunications companies to comply with the TMA.2

Under the TMA, service providers and intermediary telecommunications operators must register with the NCC.3 Previously, under the TA, companies that “install telecommunications equipment or provide telecommunications services” required a license from the MOTC and a certain amount of capital.4

Under the TMA’s provisions, direct foreign ownership of telecommunications services is limited to no more than 49 percent, and only 60 percent of shares may be owned indirectly or directly by foreigners.5

The TMA places some obligations on service providers that are not particularly onerous and are often meant to protect consumers. For example, telecommunications operators must take appropriate measures to protect the confidentiality of communications, provide public and easily accessible information to consumers, separate telecommunications and service fees from unrelated ones, and provide channels for consumers to lodge complaints.6

Previous market-entry requirements and the high cost of developing infrastructure, among other factors, allowed only a small number of providers to dominate the fixed-line and mobile markets.7 Five major telecommunication companies—Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, FET, APT, and T Star—occupy the majority of the fixed-line market,8 with Chunghwa Telecom controlling approximately 66.7 percent as of December 2022.9 Though 82 companies offered fixed-line networking as of February 2020, most were small businesses that only provide local services. Five providers—Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, FET, T Star, and APT—also provide mobile broadband service, with Chunghwa Telecom controlling 36.7 percent of the mobile broadband market as of December 2022.10

In December 2021, Taiwan Mobile and T Star agreed to pursue a merger. FET and APT announced their merger plans in February 2022.11 The NCC approved both mergers in January 2023, with some requirements—including disposing of extra bandwidth, raising the coverage rate of 4G and 5G, and addressing the digital divide—to maintain market competition and further strengthen internet connectivity.12 The mergers remain under review by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) as of the end of the coverage period.

A5 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do national regulatory bodies that oversee service providers and digital technology fail to operate in a free, fair, and independent manner? 4.004 4.004

Regulatory bodies that oversee telecommunications and other internet-related issues in Taiwan are generally seen as free, fair, and independent.

Established in 2006, the NCC is an independent government body responsible for regulating telecommunications and broadcasting services, including overseeing the telecommunications industry, managing domain names and internet protocol (IP) addresses, and processing and overseeing licenses;1 it has additionally governed TWNIC since 2017. The NCC’s mission includes promoting sound policy, safeguarding users’ rights, protecting consumer interests, and ensuring fair and effective competition in the market.2 The body is composed of seven commissioners who serve four-year terms, all of whom are nominated by the prime minister and approved by the Legislative Yuan. The prime minister is tasked with appointing both the chairperson and vice chairperson, however, prompting questions about the body’s independence.3 According to a report released by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation in November 2020, 68 percent of respondents over the age of 20 reported being concerned about the NCC’s independence.4

Recordings leaked in October 2022 raised concerns about political interference in the NCC’s January 2022 licensing approval of Mirror TV, the first news TV channel license issued by the NCC over the past 10 years. The recording purportedly features a former Mirror TV executive stating that Premier Su Tseng-chang and President Tsai Ing-wen had pressured the NCC to expedite the license.5 In March 2023, the NCC chair was accused of corruption and malfeasance in relation to this case.6 In May 2023, a Taiwanese court ordered the NCC to reconsider a November 2020 decision to deny the television license renewal of pro-Beijing television channel Chung T’ien Television News (CTiTV).7 The NCC had repeatedly fined and issued warnings to the channel for violating regulations.8

In August 2022, the government inaugurated the new Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA), led by former minister without portfolio Audrey Tang, to develop and promote digital policy innovation and reform in the areas of telecommunication, information, cyber security, internet, and communications.9

Several other government bodies oversee digital technology. For example, the FTC oversees competition law as it relates to telecommunications or digital services. FTC and NCC decisions can be appealed to the judiciary.10 In recent years, several different government bodies have supervised the implementation of Taiwan’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) (see C6). The Department of Cyber Security (DCS) oversees issues related to the security of critical infrastructure (see C8).

The nature of online information dictates which agency is tasked with particular content regulation (see B2 and B3).11 For example, online content related to food hygiene is handled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The Institute of Watch Internet Network (iWIN), a semiofficial organization funded by several government departments, is responsible for content related to children and youth.

B Limits on Content

B1 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Does the state block or filter, or compel service providers to block or filter, internet content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards? 5.005 6.006

The government does not generally compel service providers to block or filter websites or social media platforms. However, certain laws authorize the restriction of content online (see B3).

Websites are sometimes mistakenly blocked under anti-fraud measures, which may be linked to a domain name system (DNS) blocking system that recent disclosures indicate is used widely by law enforcement agencies (see B3). In August 2022, internet users reported that the Google Maps website was blocked and redirected to the anti-fraud page provided by the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Taiwan Mobile.1 Taiwan Mobile stated that the measure was a mistake, and critics expressed doubts about the legality of such actions.2 CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency exchange and news platform, was found to be blocked by telecommunication companies in September and October 2021, during the previous coverage period. The CIB disclosed that the website was mistakenly blocked in a fraud investigation.3

The government has increased its efforts to restrict Chinese streaming video platform iQIYI, which is owned by the Chinese firm Baidu, in recent years.4 In August 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that Taiwanese companies could not provide video streaming-related services originating with Chinese companies or people, particularly iQIYI or Tencent, beginning that September. The rule updated the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area and formally prohibited companies and individuals in Taiwan to serve as agents or distributors of any Chinese over-the-top (OTT) media services via television or other broadcast methods, including the digital television channel service Media on Demand.5 Since 2019, the government has blocked TikTok on government-owned electronic devices for cybersecurity reasons.6

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) reported in 2018 that the Taipei city government filtered certain content on its free Wi-Fi services provided in public spaces.7 For example, the city government confirmed that it filtered websites related to drug abuse, adult content, gambling, phishing, sex education, and weapons. Information agencies in the cities of New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung reported to the organization that they did not block websites on their wireless networks.

The Ministry of Education’s Network Guardian Angels (NGA) is a content-filtering software available to the public, geared toward parents and educational institutions. According to a national report, NGA was downloaded nearly 99,000 times between January and November 2020.8 The TAHR found that NGA-filtered content is based on unclear standards and has targeted civil society websites, including the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty and Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, a group serving the LGBT+ community.9

B2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do state or nonstate actors employ legal, administrative, or other means to force publishers, content hosts, or digital platforms to delete content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards? 3.003 4.004

Expression protected by international human rights standards is generally not forcibly removed, and intermediaries do not face onerous liability for content generated by third parties. However, a range of laws prohibits the publishing of certain kinds of content and has permitted content removal (see B3).1 The TAHR reported, for example, that the government cited the Commodity Inspection Act and the Consumer Protection Act 714 times in requests to remove content between 2017 and 2018.2 The Copyright Act also lays out a notice-and-takedown procedure that obligates intermediaries to remove third-party content that infringes on copyright.3

The judiciary has addressed cases that include requests to remove content in recent years. In January 2022, during the previous coverage period, a court ordered a city councilor to remove a YouTube video that spread false information about another legislator.4 In September 2021, a court ordered Liang Mu-yang, a newspaper journalist and former legislator, to remove Facebook posts and 49 YouTube videos about a county magistrate with whom Liang was in dispute, after the magistrate filed a civil claim over Liang’s posting of purportedly false and biased information.5

iWIN was established under Article 46 of the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act. The act requires that content hosts limit the receiving and browsing of content deemed harmful to the physical and mental health of children and youth, such as content featuring violence, blood, sex, obscenity, and gambling.6 Among other measures, iWIN identifies this content through a complaint mechanism for users, content-screening software, promotion and review of content, a content rating system, and a self-discipline mechanism for service providers.7

iWIN reported receiving 2,775 complaints in 2022, including 1,327 cases related to pornography and 75 cases related to false information; the majority of other cases related to child safety. iWIN reported 1,314 of the complaints to companies and deny-listed 397 pieces of content through filtering software.8 It is unclear what percentage of the complaints and reports to companies led to content being removed.

Google reported removing one item pursuant to a Taiwanese government request during the period from January to June 2022, after receiving a total of 17 requests. Google disclosed that 10 of the 17 requests related to privacy and security.9 Facebook restricted over 1,420 items in Taiwan during the same period, compared to 4,900 in the second half of 2021, 716 items in the first half of 2021, and less than 10 items in all previous six-month periods.10

Technology platforms have also restricted content for reasons other than government requests. A Citizen Lab report released in August 2021 found that keyword filtering attached to Apple’s product engraving service limited 338 keywords in Taiwan.11 Restrictions included “social content” keywords, such as words deemed sexually explicit, references to illicit goods and services, and vulgarity, but also included 29 “political content” keywords, including names of high-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Mao Zedong, and the Falun Gong spiritual movement. In March 2022, Citizen Lab reported that Apple removed the restrictions.12

B3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do restrictions on the internet and digital content lack transparency, proportionality to the stated aims, or an independent appeals process? 3.003 4.004

Score Change: The score declined from 4 to 3 after Taiwanese authorities disclosed that they impose website blocks in certain criminal cases with limited transparency and judicial oversight.

Technical censorship is not routine in Taiwan. Government-ordered restrictions on content are grounded in law. However, civil society has raised concerns over a lack of transparency about and oversight over which government and law enforcement agencies order removal requests and how frequently they are complied with (see B2).1

Recent disclosures indicate that the Taiwanese law enforcement have used a system known as the DNS Response Policy Zone (DNS RPZ) to order internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites implicated in criminal cases without judicial oversight. Under the DNS RPZ system, TWNIC coordinates with service providers to stop resolving DNS requests to domains upon receipt of a court order or an emergency request from a law enforcement agency.2 According to TWNIC's transparency report, from November 2022 to May 2023, law enforcement agencies have proposed a total of nearly 15,000 DNS RPZ blocks, the vast majority of which were filed as emergency requests and related to foreign domain names, though the total number of affected websites is not clear.3 According to the law enforcement agencies, the legal basis of DNS RPZ is Article 38 of the Criminal Law and Article 133-1 of the Criminal Procedure Law.4

Technologists and civil society have criticized the DNS RPZ for the lack of transparency, the number of requests filed under the system, and the lack of oversight.5 Some law enforcement officials have indicated DNS RPZ could also be used in response to false information,6 raising concerns about its broader application.

A range of laws prohibit publishing certain kinds of content, including the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act, the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, the Consumer Protection Act, and the Cosmetic Hygiene and Safety Act.7 The Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases, for example, allows the government to compel providers to block access to websites or remove webpages that sell animal products that are banned or subjected to quarantine.8 No regulation mandates that the government disclose related content-restriction requests.

The judiciary has issued rulings around online censorship. In 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that Article 24(2) and Article 30(1) of the Cosmetic Hygiene and Safety Act (then known as the Statute for Control of Cosmetic Hygiene), which required that manufacturers get approval from state officials before publicizing online cosmetic advertisements, were unconstitutional.9 The court validated the importance of commercial expression that helps consumers make economic choices.

In May 2022, the High Court ruled that Google should de-list information that contains personal attacks or vulgar language but leave contents related to public interest. The court cited the right to information privacy protected by Constitutional Interpretation No. 603 to make the verdict, rather than the right to be forgotten.10 The ruling was issued in the appeal of a 2018 High Court ruling, in which the court held that the PDPA does not explicitly protect the right to be forgotten.11

Several new bills that relate to online content were passed or under consideration during the coverage period. In January 2023, the Legislative Yuan passed a draft amendment to the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act that adds criminal penalties for producing or disseminating sexual images of a person without their consent. The amendment requires service providers to remove content relating to the nonconsensual production, leaking, distribution, or manipulation of sexual images and videos when notified by law enforcement.12 Amendments to the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act passed in February 2023 require platforms to create technical systems to remove or restrict the access to illegal content immediately once the content is detected.13 In a May 2022 statement, the Taiwan Internet Governance Forum called for content restrictions to be subject to judicial review and due process.14

In June 2022, the NCC published the draft Digital Intermediary Services Act (DISA), with a two-month public comment period that was later extended after the draft was criticized;15 the NCC subsequently decided not to promote the bill in 2023.16 The DISA would have imposed varying degrees of obligations on digital communications platforms, including mandates that online platforms release transparency reports and online advertising disclosures and provide strong notice-and-appeal mechanisms relating to content removal. It would also have required service providers to label content mandated by administrative agencies and to comply with court orders to remove and restrict the spread of content.17

In May 2022, the NCC released a new framework for the draft Internet Audiovisual Service Management Act (IASMA), which was introduced in July 2020 to regulate OTT platforms.18 The bill’s introduction was thought to be influenced by concerns that Chinese OTT services, such as iQIYI, were operating in the country without NCC approval as per the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area. The framework would introduce size-oriented obligations for OTT platforms, including around content removal and government requests for information.19 As of February 2023, the government indicated plans to revise the draft IASMA.20

B4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do online journalists, commentators, and ordinary users practice self-censorship? 3.003 4.004

Journalists, civil society groups, activists, and ordinary users generally do not self-censor online. However, some laws that include liability for online content—such as the Social Order Maintenance Act (SOMA) and criminal defamation provisions—may influence self-censorship (see C2 and C3). Self-censorship is also driven by fear of professional or legal reprisals in China and Hong Kong.

High-profile prosecutions have left some Taiwanese people who need to travel to China wary of discussing China-related issues online. For example, Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che was arrested by the Chinese government in 2017 while transiting through Macau and later sentenced to five years in prison for “subverting state power”; social media content he posted while in Taiwan was used as evidence in court.1 Lee was released and returned to Taiwan in April 2022.2

Hong Kong’s National Security Law, which was implemented in June 2020, may also encourage self-censorship of China-related speech because the scope of the penalties extends to speech made outside China.3 Similarly, Taiwanese entertainers may have experienced heightened self-censorship when Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the United States House of Representatives, visited Taiwan in August 2022. Some reported facing harassment from Chinese internet users because of the event.4 Separately, some companies, journalists, and users have issued apologies for referring to Taiwan as a country, after receiving backlash from the Chinese government and progovernment actors.5

Concerns about Chinese technology may also drive self-censorship. In January 2022, the NCC reported that some mobile phones produced by Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi monitor content for certain keywords, can potentially block or filter that content, and could transmit users’ online activity “to servers in Beijing.”6

B5 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are online sources of information controlled or manipulated by the government or other powerful actors to advance a particular political interest? 2.002 4.004

The government does not issue formal directives or attempt to coerce online outlets to influence their reporting. However, political disinformation and online influence operations are a significant issue, particularly those which support the Chinese government’s positions or that emanate directly from Chinese party-state actors.1 The government has taken innovative action to counteract false and manipulated information in the country (see B7).

The think tank Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) identified Taiwan as one of the two liberal democracies most targeted by the spread of false information by foreign governments in a 2019 report.2 Popular topics have included the reunification of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, flaws in Taiwanese democracy, information discrediting the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and content aimed at smearing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates, particularly during elections.3

In January 2022, the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau reported on the existence of inauthentic accounts on Facebook and Taiwanese platforms PTT and CK101 that distributed false information and content that originated from Chinese content farms.4

In December 2022 and January 2023, researchers at the Taiwanese civil society group Doublethink Lab released two studies examining the impact of pro-China content manipulation on the 2022 local election. These studies pointed out that the Chinese government primarily deployed local Taiwanese online influencers and nationalist Chinese netizens to spread pro-Beijing messages to influence the election and that such content manipulation may have impacted the election results. The studies also found that many people feel they did not have access to accurate information provided by the Taiwanese government.5

An October 2020 report from Doublethink Lab identified several other disinformation tactics used to support commentary that aligns with the Chinese party-state’s positions, including financial incentives for Taiwanese outlets to broadcast pro-China narratives and content farms that disseminate low-quality articles designed to spread quickly on social media. The 2020 report found that pro-China disinformation tactics originated with a range of actors including the Chinese government, the CCP, military agencies, private companies, and ordinary users.6

Other researchers have also observed changes in the ways China’s disinformation and propaganda are targeting Taiwan. For example, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, videos implying a threat of war were uploaded on YouTube and to Reddit in the Southern Min dialect, which is spoken by many Taiwanese people.7

Another group, the US-based cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, reported in 2020 that provincial authorities in China recruited prounification influencers in Taiwan with salaries ranging from $740 to $1,460 per month.8 China-based Taiwanese vloggers are increasingly active in spreading pro-CCP commentary on social media.9 Reports have also alleged that Taiwanese news outlets have received direction or payment from Beijing. An investigation published in March 2023 by Doublethink Lab showed that Taiwan’s media environment is ranked as the environment most influenced by China among the 82 countries studied, for the second year running.10 In the 2022 Beijing’s Global Media Influence report, which is produced by Freedom House, Taiwan was identified as experiencing the highest level of Chinese influence efforts (as well as the highest level of local resilience).11

Taiwan’s leading political parties—the DPP, Kuomintang (KMT), and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP)—have each claimed that their opponents have hired or deployed commentators to spread manipulated information online.12 In June 2022, Ko Wen-je, the Taipei City mayor and the TPP’s chairperson, was criticized for coordinating online commentators after civil servants were discovered posting anti-DPP content from government IP addresses during working hours.13 Ko denied the allegation.14 In December 2022, following the local election, a report alleged that it uncovered a list of pro-DPP online commentator groups; the DPP responded that the groups were simply for regular political discussion.15

B6 1.00-3.00 pts0-3 pts
Are there economic or regulatory constraints that negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online? 3.003 3.003

Taiwanese users do not face onerous constraints on their ability to publish content online. Online or digital news outlets are not required to obtain a license in order to publish. Service providers are regulated by the TMA and must provide services in a nondiscriminatory manner in terms of connection quality, price, condition, and information (see A4).1

Some regulations restrict online advertisement or investment originating from China. The Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area requires government approval for mainland Chinese entities to directly own media properties and entities. It also bans CCP advertisements.2

The draft IASMA would require OTT services of a particular size, revenue, traffic, or market influence to register or face fines ranging from NT$100,000 to NT$1 million (US$3,600 to US$36,100) (see B3).3 Foreign-owned services would be required to set up a local representative if they do not already have one and report periodically to the NCC about the number of domestic subscribers, traffic and revenue, and user engagement.4 Local telecommunication companies that serve illegal Chinese OTT services can also face onerous fines.5

To support the sustainability of news media, there have been discussions around implementing a tax on social media platforms to support local journalism, modeled on Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code. In December 2022, the Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) hosted meetings with Google, Meta, press media organizations, and news media organizations. The MODA stated that its short-term goal is to continue bridging different parties and establishing a mechanism for redistributing profits.6

B7 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does the online information landscape lack diversity and reliability? 4.004 4.004

Taiwan’s online information and digital media ecosystem reflects varied interests, experiences, communities, and languages. A range of newer online outlets contributes to this diversity. According to a 2022 survey conducted for the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford, 84 percent of the population consumed news online and 58 percent via social media; only 16 percent read print news, down from 41 percent in 2017.1

However, the media environment suffers from political polarization and sensationalist content.2 Only 27 percent of the people surveyed for the Reuters Institute’s 2022 report considered the news reliable, the lowest among people surveyed in Asia-Pacific countries.3 A study from the Taiwan Media Watch Foundation also found that people in Taiwan view the media environment as less credible and less reliable in 2019 than they did in 2014.4

Misinformation online and across Line, Facebook, Twitter (now known as X), Instagram, and the popular PTT online bulletin board can undermine people’s ability to access reliable information (see B5).5 For instance, misinformation circulated widely during the period of the 2022 “nine-in-one” election. False claims included those that the eligibility age for presidential candidates would be lowered to 18 years old if a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18 was passed, and that voting would be prohibited for people wearing gloves.6

The government, technology industry, and civil society have designed innovative tools to counteract the impact of false and misleading information in Taiwan (see B5).7 For example, Digital Minister Audrey Tang announced in 2019 that each government department had employed “meme engineers” to respond quickly to disinformation efforts. Additionally, Line users can report information for fact-checking to Cofacts, a bot created by the decentralized “gov-zero” community,8 and can receive information about its validity. Organizations like Doublethink Lab have also conducted innovative research to uncover and analyze disinformation campaigns and their impact. For example, Doublethink’s project “Escape the Mist: Disinfo Walkthrough” aims to support civil society efforts to counter mis- and disinformation.9

B8 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Do conditions impede users’ ability to mobilize, form communities, and campaign, particularly on political and social issues? 6.006 6.006

People in Taiwan can freely use digital platforms and online sources to debate and mobilize around social and political issues, including on social media platforms like Line and Facebook, as well as the online bulletin board PTT.

The Platform for Online Participation in Public Policy, maintained by the NDC, offers an official way for the general public to propose, engage, monitor, and reply to public policies online.1 Though users report a high degree of satisfaction with the platform,2 the TPP has criticized its low acceptance ratio. Only 0.43 percent of proposals were accepted, according to an NDC report.3

Current events tend to prompt considerable debate and mobilization on social media. During the period of the 2022 “nine-in-one” election and 2023 Nantou legislative by-election, candidates from different parties mobilized their supporters to vote on social media.4 People also used social media to bolster support for the constitutional referendum to lower the voting age to 18, including President Tsai Ing-wen, though the referendum ultimately failed to pass.5

In June 2023, after the coverage period, people in Taiwan launched a series of #MeToo campaigns on Facebook and other social media to call attention to sexual harassment.6 The campaigns evolved into a national movement, with more than 150 public figures accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault incidents by the end of the month.7 Some people faced legal threats relating to their allegations of abuse.8

C Violations of User Rights

C1 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Do the constitution or other laws fail to protect rights such as freedom of expression, access to information, and press freedom, including on the internet, and are they enforced by a judiciary that lacks independence? 5.005 6.006

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are constitutionally protected.1 The government has also incorporated free expression and access to information protections under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) into domestic law.2 The Freedom of Government Information Law was enacted in 2005.3

Taiwan’s judiciary is relatively independent and protected by the Judges Act.4 The judicial system provides considerable protection for speech (see C3). However, at least one court ruling has undermined strong free expression standards. In 2000, the Constitutional Court stated that the crime of defamation does not violate the constitution’s free speech protections (see C2).5

In February 2023, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) proposed revising the All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act, which addresses wartime mobilization. After a wave of criticism, the Ministry withdrew the draft amendments in early March.6 Provisions of the amendments that obligated the publishing industry, media, broadcasting TV, and internet platforms to cooperate with the government during mobilization raised free expression concerns; the bill’s supporters argued that the provisions sought to counter information operations during wartime.7

C2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are there laws that assign criminal penalties or civil liability for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards? 2.002 4.004

A range of laws criminalize online activities. Defamation and slander are criminal offenses. Article 309 of the criminal code imposes up to two months’ detention or a fine of NT$9,000 (US$324) for publicly insulting another person. Article 140 outlines liability of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to NT$100,000 (US$3,600) if an individual “offers an insult to a public official during the legal discharge of his duties.” In December 2021, the parliament amended Article 140 to remove a clause criminalizing “insult to a public office” and to raise the punishment for the remaining provision.1 Some legislators have argued that Article 140 violates free expression protections and called for amending the criminal code.2

Article 310 of the criminal code imposes up to two years in prison or a fine if an individual is found guilty of “point[ing] out or disseminat[ing] a fact which will injure the reputation of another for purpose that it be communicated to the public” in writing.3 People who allege they are slandered can also request financial compensation. For defamation cases, the law excludes speech that can be proven to be true, is related to public concern, and is a “fair comment on a fact subject to public criticism.” Prominent politicians and prosecutors have criticized the criminal insult and defamation provisions as conflicting with the constitution.4 In June 2023, after the coverage period, the Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of Article 310, ruling that the standard was proportionate and did not violate freedom of expression rights.5 The court specified that freedom of expression did not extend to false information transmitted without efforts to verify the information.6

Several laws impose liability for disseminating false or misleading information. Under the SOMA, users can be penalized for “spreading rumors in a way that is sufficient to undermine public order and peace” with up to three days of detention or a fine of no more than NT$30,000 (US$1,080).7 The law has been used to investigate online activities (see C3).

In September 2021, the Constitutional Court stated that Article 38 of the SOMA was unconstitutional. That article allowed law enforcement units to simultaneously seek administrative fines and criminal penalties for a single case. After the ruling, law enforcement departments may only charge a person accused of crimes with an administrative fine or a criminal penalty, including in cases that relate to online expression.8

Article 14 of the Special Act for Prevention, Relief, and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens, which has been in force since January 2020 and expired in June 2023 (see C6), imposes up to three years of imprisonment and high fines for the dissemination of rumors or false information regarding epidemics deemed to cause damage to the public and others.9 Similarly, Article 63 of the Communicable Disease Control Act, promulgated in June 2019, outlines a fine of no more than NT$3 million (US$108,000) for spreading rumors or false information about an epidemic that causes substantial harm to the public or others.10

Spreading false information during election periods can also lead to criminal penalties. Article 104 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act imposes a maximum penalty of five years in prison for damaging the public by disseminating rumors or fraudulent content in order to elect or not elect a candidate, or for a political proposal.11 In December 2019, the legislature passed the Anti-Infiltration Act, which includes criminal penalties for spreading election-related disinformation that is instructed, funded, or sponsored by hostile foreign forces.12 After the passage of the act, pro-Beijing online media outlet Master Chain announced that it was ending operations in Taiwan.13

Under the Disaster Prevention and Rescue Law, anyone who knowingly reports false information about a disaster faces fines of between NT$300,000 to NT$500,000 (between US$10,800 to US$18,000).14 The Food Administration Act states that no one shall “deliberately disseminate rumors or false information” relating to market food prices and the implementation of food productive programs, among other issues.15

The draft amendment to the All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act introduced in February 2023 and withdrawn in March 2023 (see C1) included a provision that imposed a maximum penalty of three years in prison or a fine of up to NT$ 1 million (US$32,000) for spreading false information during wartime. Those who spread the false information through broadcasting TV, electronic communication, or the internet would be subject to more severe penalties.16

C3 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Are individuals penalized for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards? 4.004 6.006

Internet users in Taiwan have been investigated or prosecuted for their online activities, although cases rarely lead to significant penalties like prison terms or steep fines.

The most recent data available showed that cases under the Article 63(5) of the SOMA have increased in recent years, with 151 in 2019 and 320 in 2020.1 The majority of SOMA cases do not lead to convictions2 —243 of the 320 cases reported in 2020 resulted in no penalty, for instance.3

Several cases with regard to political speech from the coverage period were related to the SOMA, though only few resulted in fines, unlike in previous years. In September 2022, an influencer was fined NT$3,000 (US$108) for spreading false information on the videogame streaming platform Twitch that President Tsai Ing-wen had died. 4 In June 2022, a man was fined NT$5,000 (US$160) in a SOMA case over messages he sent via Line with false claims about COVID-19 vaccines.5

Most investigations under the SOMA were dismissed by the judiciary. In December 2022, the court acquitted Zhong Chin, a former government official charged under SOMA over messages in a Line group about the Russia-Ukraine War in March 2022, including false claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to punish the airlines of Taiwan. The court ruled that Zhong did not violate the law as her speech did not disrupt public order.6 In March 2023, DPP legislator Lin Ching-Yi was acquitted of SOMA charges for a Facebook post alleging that a video of ballots being counted was manipulated; local authorities later substantiated Lin’s allegations. The court held that Lin’s comments were protected under freedom of expression.7

In February 2022, during the previous coverage period, a court found Yang Hui-ru and Cai Fu-ming guilty of insulting a public official under Article 140 of the criminal code and sentenced both to five months’ imprisonment, along with a fine. Yang was also charged under the SOMA, though the court found her not guilty on those charges.8 Yang and Cai were charged in relation to claims that they incited people to spread rumors that allegedly contributed to a diplomat’s death by suicide in 2018 and for insulting public officials.9 In September 2022, the Constitutional Court accepted Yang’s appeal, challenging the constitutionality of Article 140; the court had not yet ruled on the appeal as of the end of the coverage period. 10

Internet users were found guilty of and fined for violating Article 14 of the Special Act for Prevention, Relief, and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens, which expired in June 2023, during the coverage period. One user, for example, was fined and issued a suspended sentence and a NT$5,000 (US$160) fine in January 2023 for claiming to be COVID-positive to a Line group.11 Other cases include a man fined NT$70,000 (US$2,246) for spreading a rumor relating to vaccination on Line in March 202312 and a man fined NT$20,000 (US$642) with a suspended sentence for spreading the rumor that President Tsai Ing-wen had a positive rapid test on forum site Komica in February 2023.13

C4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does the government place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption? 3.003 4.004

There are some limits on anonymous communication, as Taiwan has mandatory SIM card registration requirements.1 Telecommunications-related laws and regulations require service providers to record basic user information, including names and identification numbers, when selling all telecommunications numbers (including prepaid SIM cards).2 The NCC emphasized in 2017 that registration assists relevant agencies in criminal and fraud investigation and prevention.3

Residents of Taiwan can freely use encryption technology. The Communication Security and Surveillance Act (CSSA) authorizes law enforcement agencies to intercept wired and wireless telecommunications signals with court authorization.4 There is currently no explicit legal obligation for telecommunications companies to decrypt messages or provide decryption keys to law enforcement agencies, although they should ensure that software is compatible with interception efforts so that they can assist government surveillance.5 Some within law enforcement agencies have complained that failure to decrypt undermines criminal investigations.6

In September 2020, the Ministry of Justice released the draft Technology Investigation Act, which would empower law enforcement agencies that have a court order to access users’ electronic devices, including encrypted communications, via in-person contact, network transfer, or other necessary means, such as malware (see C5).7 Civil society organizations including the Taiwan Association for Human Rights raised serious concerns about the infringement on digital privacy in the draft.8 In October 2022, the attorney general again called for the passage of the law in order to combat fraud.9 The draft remains pending as of the end of the coverage period.

C5 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Does state surveillance of internet activities infringe on users’ right to privacy? 3.003 6.006

The Taiwanese constitution expressly guarantees secret communications and requires oversight for law enforcement agencies to monitor people’s communications.1 Judicial interpretations of the constitution have also protected the right to privacy and the right to self-determination of information.2 Additionally, the PDPA stipulates the collection, processing, and utilization of personal data by government agencies and the private sector (see C6).3 However, certain surveillance laws and procedures undermine these privacy rights in practice.

The CSSA stipulates that a court-approved “interception warrant” is required to access the content of communications for a range of alleged crimes that impose a minimum of a three-year prison term.4 For the same types of crimes, a prosecutor can apply for an “access warrant” from a court to access metadata records. However, in urgent situations and for specific felonies, prosecutors do not require the court’s permission and can instead inform the enforcement authority to start surveillance.5 Within 24 hours of doing so, the prosecutor must apply for the warrant; if the court does not issue a warrant within 48 hours, the surveillance ceases. For certain serious crimes, including those that could result in prison terms of at least 10 years, prosecutors can directly access metadata without applying for a judicial warrant.6 The Code of Criminal Procedure also lays out provisions for law enforcement authorities to access personal data.7

The CSSA requires that the enforcement unit and the supervisory unit publish statistical reports about communication surveillance and communication record retrieval.8 According to a report from the Judicial Yuan and the Ministry of Justice, there were 44,238 communications surveillance cases and over 100,000 communication record retrieval cases in 2022.9 More than 95 percent of cases did not require court approval, compared to 96 percent in 2021. 10 In its 2018 Internet Transparency Report, the TAHR reported that the lack of judicial review over requests has been increasingly normalized.11

The CSSA empowers the NSB to issue an interception warrant itself—without judicial oversight—during times of emergency to conduct surveillance on the domestic communication of “foreign forces or hostile foreign forces” for the purposes of national security.12 The NSB is not required to disclose its surveillance activity.

The Code of Criminal Procedure also lays out provisions for law enforcement authorities to access non-telecommunication personal data, such as chat records in instant message apps, with a court-approved search warrant or by receiving the voluntary consent of the person being searched.13

The draft Technology Investigation Act, introduced in September 2020 and still pending as of the end of the coverage period, would increase authorities’ ability to monitor communications.14 For example, prosecutors could use GPS or other location-tracking tools for a two-month period of investigation without a warrant.15 The draft also authorizes police to use drone or aerial devices, on which Dirtbox-like devices—powerful devices that can facilitate surveillance by impersonating a cell phone tower—may be installed and which may conduct surveillance for up to 30 days. Electronic devices could also be hacked into, and authorities may install malware to monitor communications (see C4). The Ministry of Justice cited new forms of digital crimes, particularly those coordinated on messaging apps, as necessitating the new powers.16 Civil society and other stakeholders criticized the draft’s provisions as permitting major violations to the right to privacy and other human rights.17

Law enforcement agencies have access to and deploy “M-Car” devices, which are car-mounted base stations that can intercept a target’s mobile phone signal to detect their location. After obtaining communication records and user information, law enforcement agencies can use the M-Car device to capture International Mobile Equipment Identities (IMEIs) and International Mobile Subscriber Identities (IMSIs) and compare signal strengths to accurately locate users. There are currently no clear rules for the use of M-Car devices. However, a court in February 2021 held that their use is legal.18 In January 2022, the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office (THPO) disclosed that five law enforcement units, including the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau and the National Police Agency, are equipped with M-Cars, and THPO is planning to establish an M-Car team for future investigations.19

It is unclear whether the government has access to spyware technology, although some reports suggest that it does. In a 2015 report, Citizen Lab called the Taiwanese government or law enforcement “suspected customers” of FinFisher and traced FinFisher servers to the country.20 Previously, government agencies were found to have been in conversation with the now-defunct Italian firm Hacking Team about purchasing spyware, although there is no evidence that it was purchased.21

There are also concerns that state agencies conduct social media surveillance. The NSB admitted in 2018 that they monitor social media in order to track disinformation emanating from China and to ensure national security.22 Other government units have also been found to have purchased monitoring and analytic systems.23

C6 1.00-6.00 pts0-6 pts
Does monitoring and collection of user data by service providers and other technology companies infringe on users’ right to privacy? 3.003 6.006

The PDPA governs the collection, processing, and usage of personal data, including by the private sector and nongovernmental agencies. The law broadly defines personal data to include any data that can be used to directly or indirectly identify an individual, including medical information, education, financial data, and social activities. The PDPA also regulates the cross-border transfer of data1 and stipulates that individuals can apply for judicial relief if a public or private actor violates the law.

The PDPA lacks an independent and dedicated competent authority overseeing its implementation, though the government moved toward establishing one during the coverage period. The law’s enforcement rules include regulation and supervision in a more decentralized manner; since 2018, for example, the NDC has maintained a dedicated PDPA oversight office.2 In August 2022, the Constitutional Court found that the lack of an independent and dedicated competent authority in PDPA was unconstitutional and ordered the government to remediate the problem within three years.3 In April 2023, the Executive Yuan passed amendments to the PDPA that would establish an independent Personal Data Protection Commission and raise the penalty for data breach events caused by nongovernment agencies;4 the Legislative Yuan passed the amendment in May.5 It is expected that the process to establish the Personal Data Protection Commission will be started in late 2023.6

The government has enforced the PDPA to protect privacy. In December 2021, the Ministry of Culture ordered Apple Daily—an online outlet affiliated with the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily newspaper until the latter company’s assets were frozen under Hong Kong’s National Security Law—should not transfer personal data to Hong Kong authorities. The ministry cited concerns that the Chinese government would exploit the information and urged the Taiwanese outlet to delete customers’ personal data.7

The TMA and the CSSA require service providers and the telecommunications industry to cooperate with criminal investigations and comply with law enforcement and other government authorities’ surveillance requirements (see C5).8 Compliance rates vary. For example, Taiwan Mobile reported that it received almost 200,000 data requests from law enforcement units in 2021 and complied with 99.98%.9 Chunghwa Telecom stated that it received 659,429 data requests from government and law enforcement units in 2021, and it agreed to provide data in 47.1% of cases, with objections covering noncompliance with regulation.10

Government units with certain investigative powers have also gone directly to state agencies and private companies to request personal data without first receiving a court order or other oversight.11 For example, the Ministry of Economic Affairs received information in all of the 1,112 personal data requests it filed between 2017 and 2018, the most recent data available; 112 of the requests were to government agencies, with 1,000 to nongovernment agencies, including Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, and Yahoo! Taiwan Holdings Limited.12

Several laws mandate different data retention requirements.13 Telecommunications providers are required to store communication records, subscriber information, and billing details for at least a year.14

The Special Act for Prevention, Relief, and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens expired in June 2023.15 The special act was enacted in February 2020 for combating the COVID-19 pandemic.16 It gave the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) broad power to conduct contact tracing and publicize personal information but had been criticized by civil society groups and other experts as lacking legality and proportionality.17

The Electronic Fence System uses mobile location tracking data to ensure individuals remain in quarantine.18 It remained active during the coverage period, though its measures were reportedly loosened in May 2022.19 The CECC can access aggregated data from the system, and police responding to quarantine-related alerts can access an individual’s name, phone number, and address. Those in quarantine must keep their phones on in order for the tracking to work.

In April 2022, the government suspended the mandatory implementation of the 1922 SMS contact tracing system,20 which was introduced in May 2021 and used QR codes to track when users enter or leave locations including stores, government buildings, and public transportation.21 As of May 2022, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control reported it had retrieved more than 42 million records and deleted almost 4.8 billion records.22 The data is purportedly only supposed to be used for epidemiological investigations.23 However, in June 2021, a Taichung District Court judge alleged that the service was used to locate an accused individual in a criminal investigation.24 The NCC responded by again stating that the service is only used for epidemiological purposes.25

C7 1.00-5.00 pts0-5 pts
Are individuals subject to extralegal intimidation or physical violence by state authorities or any other actor in relation to their online activities? 4.004 5.005

Users are generally free from physical violence or other serious threats due to their online activity, although online harassment remains a concern.

“Cyber manhunts” refer to the identification and pursuit of someone following criticism or their involvement in controversial events and often include doxing. In December 2022, shortly after the 2022 local election, an online celebrity claimed that she had received threats from netizens and lost her job as a result of an online argument with prominent PTT influencer 4xCat.1 In August 2022, after two police officers were killed, a man was falsely accused of being the murderer by a large number of internet users and media outlets.2

The normalization of doxing has also become a barrier for government transparency. For example, in November 2022, the government refused to provide a list of vaccine review experts, citing concerns over their safety and the risks of doxing.3

Although not routine, users have faced physical threats in relation to online activities during previous coverage periods. In February 2022, PTT influencer 4xCat was threatened by a municipal candidate over Facebook posts criticizing him.4

Taiwanese legislators have sought to limit the reach of online sexual harassment (see B3). In November 2021, the Legislative Yuan passed the Anti-Stalking Act, which seeks to prevent harassment and stalking, including online harassment.5 The law took effect in June 2022.6

  • 1UDN, “網紅護理師遭威脅「不讓你安寧」報案再提離職 四叉貓笑:我贏了[The online celebrity nurse was threatened to "not let you live in peace" and reported to the police before resigning, The celebrity 4x-cat laughed: I won],” December 20, 2022,https://udn.com/news/story/6656/6852436
  • 2Li-An Hou, “殺警案他衰成全民肉搜 政院:若是警方造成「需致最大歉意」[The murder of the police has turned into a nationwide doxing and misidentify. The Government: If the police cause "the greatest apology"],” UDN, August 23, 2022, https://udn.com/news/story/6656/6558832
  • 3Hui-Chin Lin, “不公開審查高端專家 王必勝:發生獵巫、肉搜、騷擾會對不起他們[Do not disclose the experts who review Medigen, Bi-Sheng Wang: Witch hunting, doxing, harassment will be sorry for them],”, Liberty Times, November 22, 2022, https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/politics/breakingnews/4131681
  • 4Chen Chien-Chi, “擺「靈堂」嗆四叉貓 民眾黨江和樹道歉了[TPP Jiang He-shu apologizes for choking the 4xCat by Setting the "mourning hall"]”, Liberty Times Net, ,https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/politics/breakingnews/3833312
  • 5Executive Yuan, “加強保護跟騷受害人 行政院會通過「跟蹤騷擾防制法」草案 [Strengthening the protection of harassment victims. The Executive Yuan will pass a draft of the ‘Stalking Harassment Prevention Law’],” April 22, 2021, https://www.ey.gov.tw/Page/9277F759E41CCD91/9b052834-00e3-4796-a32a-f6f….
  • 6Lin Yu-hsuan, Wang Cheng-chung, Lai Yu-chen and Elizabeth Hsu, “New anti-stalking bill clears Taiwan's Legislature”, Focus Taiwan, November 19, 2021, https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202111190022
C8 1.00-3.00 pts0-3 pts
Are websites, governmental and private entities, service providers, or individual users subject to widespread hacking and other forms of cyberattack? 1.001 3.003

Taiwan faces frequent overseas cyberattacks, emanating from Beijing in particular. Data breaches are common, including during the coverage period.

In June 2022, the DCS reported that government agencies were targeted with 696 cybersecurity incidents in 2021. Some 63.32 percent of the incidents from were categorized as “illegal intrusion” relating to third-party vulnerabilities, 12.9 percent were equipment problems, 4.1 percent were attacks against webpages, and the remainder were related to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and other issues.1 The DCS previously said in 2019 that Taiwan faced about 30 million technical attacks every month, such as webpage defacements and DDoS attacks—half of which are speculated to originate in China.2 Four Chinese government-backed hacking groups are believed to have been involved in attacks against Taiwan as of August 2020.3

In August 2022, during Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, government websites—including the Office of the President, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of National Defense—all suffered DDoS attacks.4 Hacker organizations based in China claimed credit for some of the attacks.5

In October 2022, security researchers reported that an online hacker forum had offered to sell Taiwan's household registration information that was claimed to include more than 23 million entries, which is almost equivalent to the population of Taiwan.6 Analysis of a subset of that data found that it included names, identification numbers, home addresses, and other sensitive personal information and that it likely originated in 2019.7 In February 2023, the Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Justice (MJIB) reported that the hacker is suspected to be a Chinese national.8

Private sector data leaks are also a serious issue in Taiwan. Cybersecurity firm Check Point reported that entities in Taiwan face over 3,000 cyberattacks every week.9 Several customer data leaks occurred during the coverage period. Those cases involved car rental and sharing services platform iRent,10 the airline Chinese Airline,11 and the chain department store Breeze.12

The Cyber Security Management Act oversees the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure providers. It requires that public agencies formulate cybersecurity maintenance plans and stipulates report-and-response mechanisms for security incidents.13 The Executive Yuan was responsible for establishing the DCS.14

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  • Global Freedom Score

    94 100 free
  • Internet Freedom Score

    78 100 free
  • Freedom in the World Status

  • Networks Restricted

  • Websites Blocked

  • Pro-government Commentators

  • Users Arrested