Firms building spy grid in China to create Taiwan IDs: Report

Insiders worried Taiwanese personal data vulnerable to Chinese authorities invoking Hong Kong national security law

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/09/03
By: Sophia Yang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Taiwan’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) revealed the design of new eID in 2019. (MOI photo)

Taiwan's Ministry of Interior (MOI) revealed the design of new eID in 2019. (MOI photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Nearly 24 million Taiwanese citizens might be at risk of exposure to personal data breaches as a result of the government's ambitions in the field of digital identification, as the foreign subcontractors for the new electronic identity (eID) cards are said to have assisted China with building ID systems in the past and are capable of trafficking huge amounts of Taiwanese biometric data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the Hong Kong Security Law.

TECO Electric & Machinery Co. Ltd. (東元電機), the winner of the Taiwan’s eID contract, is currently under investigation for bidding with a falsified certificate of ISO 14298. The company was previously involved in a number of government projects, including the making of 20 million National Health Insurance cards in 2001, iPass in 2005, and the Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), according to the report.

People familiar with the matter told MirrorMedia that after winning the NT$3.29 billion (US$ 112 million) eID contract, TECO contracted the card production to several firms, including French Idemia and American Datacard, at the price of NT$2.8 billion in total. The two companies, however, are said to be working with the Chinese communist regime on different projects.

Idemia, formerly known as Morpho, is the global leader in providing biometric surveillance and security systems, and in the U.S., it is involved in the making of state-issued drivers licenses. With a sales office in Hong Kong offering digital identity and smart transaction solutions, the company is also assisting China with surveillance, ID systems, and biometric payments.

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