Yes, we actually do, and it’s free WiFi, called iTaiwan. In Taiwan, we have broadband as human right. If you don’t have WiFi, or indeed, broadband connection, that’s my fault. Joel can help you actually setting up the WiFi.
That would be great. Now, a real question.
You mentioned this concept of radical transparency.
You also said that you are not working for the government, but with the government. Very general question. What do your, let’s say, colleagues, how do they perceive this concept of radical transparency?
For example, I am sure that in my country, there will be people in the government saying, “You cannot operate like this.”
“This is crazy,” right? [laughs]
“This is crazy.” Yes, crazy is the right word. In general, how it is perceived in the government, this concept, and what you are doing? I don’t want to be rude.
No, you can be rude.
Isn’t it a little bit of show off for somebody? They say, “OK, this lady just there, talking to people, and blah, blah.” Within the government, how is this perceived?
Great question. It’s actually two questions. The first one is those other ministries see something that they can imitate, or they see it as a kind of show.
Do they see and evaluate…
As a show. Whether it delivers a public governance value, that’s the first one. Second is the resistance from the public servants, career public service, because they are two levels.
The ministers have to buy in those, but the public servants have also to see that this is truly a value. Otherwise, there would be a lot of resistance, even when the ministers say that this is a good idea. That’s two different.
Joel, are you OK with the Wifi. It should work. If it doesn’t work, just hand it to me. [laughs]
It shouldn’t need password. It should just work.
First of all, I have to explain the position of digital minister. In Taiwan, there is 32 ministries and councils, each with a chief commissioner or a minister. These, we call the 32 vertical ministries.
By vertical, it means that it’s the usual come in and control, tree shaped bureaucracy hierarchy. Above the 32 vertical ministries, in the Executive Yuan itself, are nine horizontal ministers. I am one of the nine. The horizontal ministers, we don’t have any specific ministry assigned to us.
Rather, our work is in our mandate. For example, for me, it’s open government, it’s social innovation, it’s youth engagement, etc., to work horizontally with all the ministries related to that idea to find common values and to resolve their disputes.
By design, this position is one that touches each and every ministry. While each ministry has a regulation and a law, indeed, that determines which sections they have and so on, there is no law or regulation that determine a horizontal minister’s office. Every one of us get to ...
For example, here is our foreign affairs delegate, and we also have delegates from the ministries of culture, of national development, of communication, of education, of interior, and so on, and so on.
Theoretically, I can have 32 colleagues but at the moment I have 22 colleagues meaning that indeed, as you said, not all ministers from all ministries think radical transparency is a great idea. There are some ministries that never sent anyone.
For example, the Ministry of Defense never send anyone, I wonder why. Council for Continental China Affairs never sent anyone, I wonder why. Maybe they’re not ready for radical transparency.
My second working condition, aside from radical transparency is voluntary association, meaning that I’m not going to tell the minister of defense tomorrow, oh, you’re going to publish all your minutes, this is not what I’m doing.
I’m saying if you’re willing to delegate one person to my office, and cocreate this way of working together with the private and social sector, and willing to work with your ministry without giving that delegate any direct order, and indeed they all rank and score themselves, and ...
The question to your second part of your question, is that many public servants think it’s a good idea because previously, and this is maybe even more so in foreign service, previously career public servants, they’re very diligent, and they do a lot of innovative stuff. But if ...
If it doesn’t work, the MPs will question them, and then their minister will have to respond. The minister could always say that the public servant did not achieve my vision. That is the usual way of responding. But, if it does work, then everybody thinks it’s the ...
Through radical transparency, it’s exactly the other way around. Everybody can see, even in the drafting stage, who is the public servant that proposes an innovative idea. I can show some examples. If it doesn’t work, because as far as I know, I’m the only anarchist minister ...
It’s specifically for the investigative journalists to be as quick as the real time “journalists” so you don’t have to waste your time getting the scoop, so to speak, because the entire transcript after each meeting is made available. The journalist can do journalism, instead of asking four ...
It empowers the journalism which empowers the public servants to receive due credit. I’ll not pretend and say the entire Executive Yuan has bought in into this working method, but at least 22 out of 32 have done so, so that’s the second part. The first part is ...
That’s right. It takes time for them to see that this is a good idea.
In Taiwan, we have five branches of the government. Previously, when in 2016 when I become digital minister, only the judicial branch is publishing the entire transcript of their educations and judgments, aside from of course cases pertaining to minor or sexual sorts, you know the deal, but they are ...
For example, party negotiations during the legislative sessions, these are not published and indeed they are not live streamed. In 2016, I think, they become radically transparent and live streamed.
Corrective Yuan used to do the auditing of campaign donation themselves, but they only published the statistics in summary to the public Internet, but just this month, actually, they put up online in the previous campaigns, role by role, individual donations.
This enables everybody to do independent analysis, not only the Corrective Yuan can do the analysis. Now we are in an administration, we are not leading this movement, we’re following the movement from the judicial, legislative, corrective to a radical transparency. We’re somewhat lagging behind, but we’re ...
As you can see, this is a general will of the people to see radical transparency from each and every branch of the government and it doesn’t mean that I’m being particularly radical when you compare to other branches of the government. All the ministers are getting used ...
Hi, I’m Teresa. I would like to know, Taiwanese citizen have this direct together, what would be the legislation for enterprise like Uber, Airbnb, with debates, so I would like to know why do you think it’s not done in other countries, and if it could be done ...
…participation, and referendums.
One of the reason why we have a vibrant social sector, used to be called third sector, but now they’re more dominant in legitimacy, so they’re no longer the third, we’re just call them the social sector, is that we have in our region, at least, the ...
Indeed, the CIVICUS Monitor shows each violation of the freedom of assembly, or overconcentration of privileges into the administration and each time it happens, that jurisdiction decrease score and finally becomes red. Taiwan is alone in our region. Japan is doing OK, but everybody else is obstructed, repressed, or closed.
If you have a obstructed or oppressed civil society, there is no point of asking anybody anything, right? Because they’re just going to say whatever the administration want them to say, because if they say the opposite, they risk disappearance.
This is a real issue in our nearby jurisdictions. So because of that, our civil society always think, and sometimes rightly so, that they know more, and is more legitimate than the public sector. That is the first condition of this way of working, is by the civil society assuming ...
The reason why, by the way, is that when the martial law gets lifted, and a freedom of press opened, it’s not until another decade that we have direct presidential election. The social sector has 10 years of head start to build legitimacy until we have direct presidential election ...