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Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang Attends High-level Meeting of FOC and Worked with Other Countries to Defend Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights on the Internet

Audrey Tang, Minister of Digital Affairs, attended the high-level meeting of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on the 20th local time in New York, USA. She met with Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State who is responsible for security, democracy, and human rights, Nathaniel C. Fick, the inaugural U.S. Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, and digital and diplomatic heads of 38 countries including France, Estonia and Lithuania, jointly discussed how to respond to the risks brought by emerging technologies and establish corresponding security measures.

Minister Tang said that Taiwan supports what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that countries around the world should ensure that the development of science and technology is based on legality, responsibility, and compliance with domestic laws and international norms. Any technological development and regulatory measures must protect privacy and human rights. Taiwan insists on standing on the same front as our partners in the democratic camp.

Minister Tang said that in 2022, Taiwan and its allies from more than 60 countries signed the "A Declaration for the Future of the Internet", jointly committing to building the Internet into a digital public construction that protects human rights, freedom, and mutual trust. By participating in the FOC high-level meeting, Taiwan is honored to further join hands with allies to defend the core values of freedom, democracy and online human rights.

Henri Verdier, French Ambassador for Digital Affairs, met with Minister Tang that day to share French experience in promoting transnational public programs. Ambassador Verdier said that information systems jointly created by civil society and the government can effectively respond to social needs, and France will continue to invest in such digital innovation infrastructure. Minister Tang pointed out that the Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda) continues to promote open source localization. Among them, the communication software Element has been field-tested in Matsu. When the submarine cable fails, the call function can still be maintained through satellite, which helps to create a resilient digital communication environment.

The FOC was established in 2011 with the purpose of protecting online human rights and the value of freedom and democracy. Through transnational cooperation and inviting stakeholder participation, the FOC jointly formulates Internet freedom policies globally. It has 38 members including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, etc. In 2023, Taiwan joined as an FOC observer in the name of Taiwan.

In the evening of the same day, Minister Tang was invited by the International Strategy Forum (ISF) to participate in a symposium on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, where she discussed global governance and emerging technologies with members of government agencies, industries, and communities. The panelists included Helen Zhang, the ISF Director, Nighat Dad, lawyer and founder of the Digital Rights Foundation, and Matt Sheehan, researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, etc.

Minister Tang said that the application standards of AI need to be jointly promoted by the international community to promote digital trust and protect human rights values. As a partner of the Collective Intelligence Project (CIP), an international non-governmental organization, the moda launched the Alignment Assemblies project, making Taiwan the first in the world to align the value of AI through citizen deliberation. Taiwan’s goal is to give all citizens the opportunity to contribute to the safe and sustainable development of AI, as well as to identify and mitigate the risks posed by this emerging technology.

Minister Tang also promised that in order to achieve and echo this year’s United Nations theme of “Equality, Freedom, and Justice for All," Taiwan will continue to work closely with partners to strengthen digital development that takes into account the three dimensions of "participation, progress, and security."

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