Watchdog releases eavesdropping investigation

05/20/2014 11:15 PM

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) The Control Yuan made available online Tuesday an investigation report on the implementation of the Communication Security and Surveillance Act that points out a number of institutional defects, including an eavesdropping case involving several individuals that could be decided by just a prosecutor and a judge.

One Control Yuan member said that even he himself was worried about being monitored by the authorities.

The government has been unable to ensure people's freedom from being illegally bugged, one of the investigating Control Yuan members, Li Ful-dien, told CNA Tuesday. The other two investigators are Yeh Yao-peng and Lin Chu-liang.

Li said the Managing and Checking System of Communication Surveillance set up by the Taiwan High Court is not strict enough, and could allow law enforcement personnel to wiretap people who are in contact with targeted individuals or to add other phone numbers to the list of approved targets without permission.

Taiwanese courts permitted 504,788 cases of eavesdropping from late 2007 to late 2013, while the United States has had only about 1,000 to 2,000 cases per year in the last decade, according to the investigation report.

However, the courts checked up on just 153 of the approved cases during the 2011-2013 period, representing an average per court of only 2.4 supervisory visits to law enforcement units in the period, which means fewer than one per year, said the report.

Another point at issue was a case of bugging assigned to a prosecutor and a judge, who would be responsible for the renewal of the case or adding more individuals to be targeted for surveillance.

Taiwan falls short compared with certain other countries such as Germany, where cases are decided by judges who are on duty on a rotational basis, and the U.S., where cases need to be reviewed along with all previous data and can be subject to review by a different court, according to the report.

(By Sophia Yeh and Kuo Chung-han)ENDITEM/J

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