The preventive inaction lawsuit over the chip ID card is one of the most famous strategic litigation recently in Taiwan. Whether Taiwan should have a better rights-based digital law structure is on the hot bottom in Taiwan’s legal community. The case is definitely a milestone for digital rights protection in Taiwan.
It was initiated in 2020, aimed to alleviate the predicament faced by citizens refusing to be forced to take the new eID card. It is cooperated by several civil groups including JRF, TAHR, and OCF in Taiwan. Among them, JRF is responsible for forming the pro bono lawyers team, which is held by Attorney Yu-Teng Lin.
The Taipei High Administrative Court(the FIRST instance) just dismissed the case on 10 May this year(2023) on the grounds that it does not meet the criteria of preventive intervention since the government has already suspended the project under the pressure of civil society.
However, the judgment still makes an impactful argument. It emphasized that the eID, which can generate a large amount of digital footprints, imposes a digital identity recognition function on individuals, exposing them to be thoroughly analyzed, fundamentally changing the current identity recognition system, and greatly impacting the people's information autonomy and privacy rights. The court concluded that enforcing people to replace their IDs with eID under the authorization of the Household Registration Law apparently exceeded the scope of authorization and the government has obligations to use specific regulations to regulate proper institutional protection.
Through the case, the upcoming discussion about what the specific regulations should be more concrete and it is definitely worth further monitoring.