Article by CHANG, SHU-CHEN | Edit by Open Culture Foundation (OCF)
Taiwan was ranked as the high quality Open Data government in 2015 and 2016 by “Global Open Data Index". However, since than, there is no further development and many open data sets are still lack of function. This October, Taiwan National Development Council suddenly announced the draft of “Open Data Act" is under discussion. Before we finally step into next stage, let us review what is really going on when citizen request the data from government.
The public only realized that there was only one maintenance record of the Nanfang’ ao Bridge after the bridge crumbled on October 1, 2019. Moreover, the maintenance record was only partial, the maintenance work was incomplete, and the information was incorrect, either.
Why did the relevant information remain unobserved for so long? The Ministry of Transportation and Communications established the “Taiwan Bridge Management System (TBMS)” right after Gaoping Bridge crumbled as a result of illegal gravel mining and typhoon slamming in 2001. Although the related agencies are required to upload the maintenance records of all bridges in accordance to the system, the information has not been opened to the public, which makes it unable to be supervised by the public. People also have no idea about the safety of the bridges they are walking on daily.
Taiwan is always considered by its people as an open and democratic society. After the “Freedom of Government Information Law” has been executed for fourteen years, and Taiwan has retained top spot in “Global Open Data Index” two times in a row in 2015 and 2016, which all have become one of the prides of Taiwan. However, , the sensitive zone of significant government information that should be opened to the public remains in the dark side of this pride.