Taiwan military eyes partial repeal of ban on smartphone use

Taiwan military eyes partial repeal of ban on smartphone use

TAIPEI - In an effort to entice more people to enlist in the military, the Ministry of National Defence said Saturday that it is currently considering permitting smartphone use in the military.

A Ministry of National Defence spokesman said that the new cellphone use policy will be applied only in certain military units, depending on the mission nature and environmental characteristics of different units. Depending on the outcome, the new policy may be applied to more and more units.

Army Headquarters Political Warfare Office Director Tseng Yu-fu (曾有福) said recently that the new policy is founded on the principles of reason, efficiency and humane treatment, and that the new policy may be applied to the whole military.

"One should practice discipline, and form a habit of withholding confidential information when using cellphones," Tseng said. Military personnel will be allowed to use cell phones in their rooms, but cell phones will not be allowed in locations where sensitive data is present.

Coast Guard Administration Moves Ahead

The Coast Guard Administration (海巡署, CGA), however, preempted the military by permitting cellphone usage yesterday, saying smartphone use will be allowed for a period of two months. If everything goes well in this trial period, the administration may alter relevant regulations to make the new policy permanent.

The CGA conducted a risk analysis regarding the introduction of smartphones into barracks, and concluded that information security management is a controllable risk. The CGA requested that its staff sign a "confidential pledge letter" to ensure all personnel would be aware of applicable rules.

The CGA ruled that phones with photography, voice recording and video recording capabilities would not be permitted to enter CGA buildings as a preventive measure against inappropriate use or the use of smartphones as a tool to share confidential information with third parties.

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