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Restrictions to be placed on medical record collection

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Legislature yesterday passed a preliminary review of a Personal Information Protection Act amendment, which if passed will place restrictions on the collection of medical records.

The Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee noted, however, that articles of the amendment have to be further negotiated via cross-caucus meetings.

As medical records are private and sensitive personal information, lawmakers including Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Lee Kuei-min (李貴敏) jointly proposed to list information from medical records into the current act.

According to the amendment, personal information such as medical records, medical treatments, genetic information, health examination records and information on a person's sexual life should not be collected, processed or used.

The amendment stipulates that exceptions can be made under certain legal situations. Moreover, information may be retrieved with a letter of consent from the person concerned.

The amended regulations stipulate that, based on the priorities of maintaining social order and protecting public interests, the government is allowed to collect and use criminal records.

Personal information should be handled with a concern for proper security measures, the amendment stated. Should there be any controversy between a person and the information collector, the latter is responsible for providing evidence of their authority to investigate, the amendment states.

Lawmakers passed a resolution during the committee meeting yesterday stating that the Executive Yuan should make the amendment effective within three months of it passing through the Legislative Yuan.

Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), who doubles as one of the committee conveners, said that should the latest amendment of the Personal Information Protection Act be passed in the Legislature, it will better protect people's privacy.

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