Video hack infuriates Taiwanese city mayor

Earlier this year, Andrea Petrou wrote an article on this website noting that the Electronic Communication Harassment Observation (ECHO) was conducting its first-ever survey to gauge the prevalence of cyberstalking in British society.

“The UK-based organisation has been commissioned by the Network for Surviving Stalking charity, which aims to support stalking victims and raises awareness about the issue,” she wrote.

In related news from the other side of the world, a well-known Taiwanese city mayor, Jason Hu, is flaming mad. He told reporters that two young women who made a short campaign video for his upcoming re-election bid are flaming mad, too. Who? What? Why?

It turns out that the original campaign advert was ”altered” by hackers, portraying the twin sisters, recent college graduates from a Catholic university in Taipei, as hookers.

The twins — Pei-yu and Pei-han — told a press conference held by Mayor Hu’s office that their innocent video, which is available on the mayor’s website, just shows the the pair dancing and singing. But some pranksters altered the video clip to make them appear as “hostesses” working the floor at a well-known ”sexual-services” nightclub.

In the underhandedly-edited version, footage of the twins is played alongside scenes inside the notorious sex club, with a voiceover claiming sex services are available for willing johns.

“We are completely humiliated,” the Chen sisters said. “Politics is ugly.”

The mayor’s office is now asking local prosecutors to investigate the case and is hoping for stiff penalties. Come next year, when Taiwan’s Data Protection Act will give way to Taiwan’s age of online liability, strict new stipulations will put virtually everyone in Taiwan at risk of unknowingly breaching the Personal Data Protection Act, with possible fines of up to US $500,000.

In particular, cyberbullying and cyberstalking (and cyberflaming) will no longer go unpunished, and such things as posting an article or photo of someone else on the internet or in a personal blog will be considered,under the law, to be ”leaking” personal data, if the person concerned has not given his or her approval.

For example, once the act is enforced, it won’t be a good idea to post articles or photos of other people anywhere online without their express permission. If the content of articles or photos posted on the internet pertains to other persons, they must be notified and asked for prior approval, according to sources.

Given the provisions of the act, lawyers representing people who try to fight cyberbullying and cyberstalking will have have more artillery in their arsenals. Even flaming other people in forums and blogs will be subject to legal action. If those flamed wish to press charges they can go ahead, according to sources in the legal field.

If the new Personal Data Protection Act, which is to take effect in early 2011 in Taiwan, has any teeth and can be enforced, online cyberbullying and insults might be seen in another light. And “Hu’s Girls” will see justice done. 

We recently reported on a Taiwanese professor who was sent obscene threats. Using the law, she was able to have her cyber harassers apprehended – and they in turn were forced to send her letters of apology