Taiwan: Police ask for Plurkers’ IPs

plurkPlurk is the most popular micro-blogging platform in Taiwan. Recently, in March 29 2010, one of its founder Alvin Woon posted a plurk, saying that he had been receiving letter from police asking for the IP information of some of the plurkers’ accounts. However, the police did not present any court order for the IPs.

According to Frank Hsieh, human rights lawyer and leader of DPP, pointed out that unless the court deems it necessary for criminal investigations, it is illegal for the police to breach Plurkers’ privacy.

However, it has been an usual practice for the Taiwanese police to ask websites for user IP information. In fact, upon the inquiry of a DPP Taipei city councilor, the police confirmed that they on average would make about 10 inquiries to Plurk every month. Since Alvin Poon is not a local Taiwanese and Plurk server is in North America, he did not comply to the police's demand. However, some websites, such as the PTT bulletin board system, in Taiwan are “cooperative” with the police and give the user information to the police without any court order.

Since the case has been widely reported in the mainstream media, webmasters and users would be more aware of the privacy issue.

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