Moda Promotes Public Code, Gathers Suggestions, and Launches Symposium Series
The Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda) announced today that its ongoing discussions regarding the promotion policy of public code in Taiwan. To corporate with a wide range of voices, the moda has initiated policy discussions on the public policy web engagement platform (https://gov.tw/Lzb). Additionally, a series of three "Public Code and Information Service Procurement Symposiums" will be organized, with the first seesion schedules on 25th of this month at the Tainan Shalun Information Security Service Base, followed by subsequent sessions in October and November in Taipei City.
According to the moda, public code refers to the original code developed by the government, which is treated as public property and made available for use by the general population. This concept has been prevalent in Europe since the 2010s, and Taiwan also has active free software and open-source communities advocating for it. This concept is similar to traditional public construction, where the government builds infrastructure and makes it accessible to everyone. The same principle applies to government-developed digital software. For instance, during the pandemic, the Singaporean government made its contact tracking and AI temperature measurement program source code accessible to the public for widespread use. Similarly, the UK government designed its internal form creation and submission mechanism as a separate service to simplify complex government forms , which can be shared not only among UK government agencies but also with government agencies in other countries. Moda has made the source code of its official website available for use by all sectors of the society.
The moda further explained that the implementation of the public code policy will influence the current information service procurement procedures of public agencies in Taiwan and will trigger discussions on the software industry's business model and information security in Taiwan. To reach a societal consensus, the moda has sought input from public agencies, academia, industry, and citizens through web-based opinion collection and a series of physical seminars during the policy drafting stage.
The ministry emphasized that, in the past, information policy discussions have mainly occured in northern Taiwan. However, the decision to host the first "Symposium on the Procurement of Public Codes and Information Services" in the southern region is aimed at fostering connections within the southern information community and balancing information development between the north and the south. Tainan Shalun was selected as the hosting location due to its status as a prominent information security hub in Taiwan, providing crucial insights into information security management in public code policy.
Eric Juang, Director General of the Department of Democracy Networks, highlighted that public code embodies the characteristics of open reuse of government system software code. This policy is a crucial step towards transforming the country into a smart nation, aligning with international software development trends, reducing the government's overall information expenditure, and promoting uniformity in government data formats.
Furthermore, to demonstrate that government agencies can establish a model of digital governance in collaboration with citizen partners by making source code software and public code accessible, the moda organized the "2023 Civic Technology Pilot Site Demonstration Project." The completed code, APPs and related outcomes will become part of the public codes.