Academics criticize Ko parking camera plan
Several law experts from National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday joined a district court judge who criticized Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s ( ) idea of using surveillance cameras to arrest individuals who violate Taipei City parking policies.
Taoyuan District Court Judge Chien Chien- jung ( ) submitted a letter to the Chineselanguage Liberty Times in protest of the idea the mayor proposed in his Taipei City Traffic Report. Ko said that he wants to use cameras around the city to catch parking violators, especially in areas where parking violations occur most often.
In his letter, the judge stated that government agents have long disregarded Taiwan’s Personal Information Protection Act (
). The judge went on to say that all levels of Taiwan’s government tend to suffer from self- proclaimed righteousness and feel empowered to interfere in people’s personal lives.
Chien said that the proposal reminded him of the British writer George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” in which the author describes a quasi-divine government leader known as “Big Brother,” a charismatic figurehead who governs all aspects of his citizens’ lives.
An increase in police manpower and the use of surveillance cameras are not solutions to the problem, the judge said.
He suggested Ko should
in- vestigate why illegal parking is so common and seek ways to increase parking spaces for motorists in Taipei.
Ko responded to the criticism, saying a difference of opinion was to be expected in a democratic society.
However, the mayor went on to say that his decision to use camera surveillance was final. He conceded that he would not use all of the 14,000 cameras available. Instead, camera use would be limited to illegal park-
Law Does Not Serve Ko: NTU
Several professors from NTU joined the judge in condemning the mayor’s surveillance plan.
NTU College of Law professor Lee Mau-Sheng ( ) took to social media to say that apart from the importance of personal information protection, the differentiation between a righteous and evil person is likewise just as crucial, so that people are able to observe and understand the abuse of power.
Professor Liu Ching-yi ( ), of the Graduate Institute of National Development at NTU, also criticized Ko’s statement for not addressing the implications his proposal would entail for personal privacy.
During a press interview yesterday, Ko said that only 10 illegal parking hotspots would be targeted, and that his decision was in the public interest and that surveillance cameras have been in use to catch traffic violations for a long time on highways and freeways.