Taipei, Sept. 7 (CNA) The National Communications Commission (NCC) said Wednesday there was “no timeline” for reintroducing a draft bill to regulate the content of online platforms, adding the agency was “back to square one” following a public outcry over its original proposal.
At a press briefing, NCC Vice Chairperson and spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said there was “no timeline” for the NCC to reintroduce the draft digital intermediary service act, adding that the commission would review and further research some of the controversies surrounding the proposed bill.
He went on to say that the agency would put more focus on platform accountability and user protection, among other issues, going forward.
The NCC has come under fire after it commenced public hearings for the draft bill in August, a procedure required before the bill could be sent to the Cabinet for approval.
Service providers and civil society groups have expressed concerns that the draft bill, once it becomes law, would infringe on freedom of expression, undermine user privacy and impede the internet industry.
The draft bill establishes provisions for service providers in their intermediary role of connecting consumers with goods, services, and content, including telecommunications, caching, cloud storage, e-commerce, social media, and online forums.
Under the draft bill, service providers would have been required to put a “warning” on online posts deemed by Taiwan authorities as rumors, disinformation, or illegal content, pending a court order secured by the authorities to remove the information.
According to the draft bill, service providers should also take action in response to “illegal content,” such as suspending or terminating the user’s account, and removing, algorithmically downgrading, or disabling access to the illegal content.
The NCC shelved the draft bill on Aug. 19, shortly after Premier Su Tseng-Chang (蘇貞昌) weighed in on the issue the same day and said that “public consultations in all quarters” were needed.