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May 27, 2017

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Gov't denies Beijing involvement in the MOI's registration software

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) yesterday said the computerized registration system software provider did not contract out a software design project to a mainland Chinese firm, noting that the National Security Bureau (NSB) also denied such speculation.

During an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said NSB Director-General Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) had confirmed that the registration system provider — International Integration System Inc. (IISI, 資拓宏宇國際股份有限公司) — contracted out the software development project to a Chinese company.

Cheng further said that Tsai told opposition lawmakers at the Legislature on Monday that he is worried about threats to national security, and he has expressed his concerns to the Executive Yuan.

Cheng said not only did the IISI allegedly violate the Government Procurement Act, the incident also represents a serious national security issue.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) responded to Cheng by saying that he will investigate the incident and report to her within one week.

NSB Denies Reports

The NSB later released a press statement, saying that what Tsai told lawmakers on Monday was referring to his knowledge that the registration system has software issues, but he did not say the software development was contracted out to a mainland Chinese company.

The NSB also said a report offered to the Legislative Yuan on Monday did not mention anything regarding the registration system's software provider.

The bureau said lawmakers and several media reports have misinterpreted Tsai's remarks at the interpellation.

MOI Echoes NSB

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) also issued a statement, saying that it contacted the IISI regarding the issue on Feb. 21, and the software provider denied the allegation.

The MOI said it transferred the case to the Ministry of Justice for further investigation in late February, noting that it will terminate the contract with the IISI should the investigation discover any evidence confirming the speculation.

The MOI further noted that the registration information is highly secure as the new computerized registration system connects with other government agencies via the government service network's virtual private network (VPN), and an information security center monitors the system's information exchange 24/7 to ensure information security.

IISI's Response

In a statement released by the IISI, it said that no Chinese software engineer, Chinese company or any foreign firms were involved in Taiwan's registration system development.

The firm further noted there are no such issues of information security or national security as the registration information is held in the MOI's hands, and the firm has no way to access people's data nor did it build a "backdoor" to the system.

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