The Ministry of Justice issued the Fa-Lu-10703507550 Circular of July 3, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Circular”) to communicate that a company’s publication of promotional information about government policies and directives in bills or on envelopes is a promotion of public interest under Subparagraph 2 in the proviso of Paragraph 1 of Article 20 of the Personal Information Protection Act and is a circumstance where usage beyond specified purposes is allowed.
First, according to this Circular, Article 20, Paragraph 1 of the Personal Information Protection Act (hereinafter, the “Act”) provides: “Except for the data stated in Paragraph 1 of Article 6, a non-government agency shall use personal data within the scope of the specific purposes of collection, provided that the data may be used outside the scope in case of any of the following circumstances: …(2) it is necessary to promote public interests;…” A non-public agency shall basically use personal data within the specific purposes of collection. If personal data are obtained based on a contractual or quasi-contractual relationship for marketing to the individuals concerned, this should meet the reasonable expectation of such individuals concerning privacy under a general social construct. Therefore, there should be justified and reasonable connections between “marketing acts and details” and “contract or quasi-contract” in order to meet the above requirement for use within specific purposes. If the use goes beyond the scope of specific purposes, one of the circumstances set forth in the subparagraphs in the proviso of Paragraph 1 of Article 20 of the Act shall be met in order to engage in any use beyond the scope of the specific purposes. As for the “promotion of public interest” set forth in Subparagraph 2 in the proviso of Paragraph 1 of Article 20 of this Act, this refers to interest that may be shared among the non-specific majority in the society. However, since this is not a definite legal concept, determination should be made separately based on the facts associated with specific cases.
This Circular further pointed out that the 2018 Pilot Program for Rental Management of Social Housing conducted pursuant to the Yuan-Tai-Jian-1060011133 Circular of April 18, 2017 from the Executive Yuan was launched to “help the disadvantaged citizens rent housing units in the residential rental market, encourage the citizens to release vacant housing units and housing inventories, and reduce the financial burden of constructing new social housing units on local governments.” Pursuant to relevant requirements such as Article 19 of the Housing Law, owners of housing units are encouraged through tax incentives to rent vacant units to qualified tenants, and qualified tenants can also receive preferential rents with governments assuming costs and expenses for this program such as intermediary expenses (or development expenses), notarization expenses, management expenses (or contracted management expenses), expense rewards for the repair and maintenance of leased housing units, insurance expenses, and advanced rents to enhance the willingness of operators to participate. The funding for the entire program is provided by the Executive Yuan in full to implement a social housing policy where social housing units are only leased, not sold and are provided with reasonable rents in an excellent environment. Therefore, since this program was approved by the Executive Yuan and owners of qualified housing units, qualified tenants and relevant property operators could all benefit after their applications are approved and met the policy objectives of safeguarding the housing rights and interests of the citizens and promoting the sound development of the residential market, the contents of the program pertain to benefits shared by the non-specific majority. Therefore, although a company’s publication of promotional information about the policy and directives to accommodate the above program in bills or on envelopes was not consistent with the specific purposes of collecting customers’ data, still this met the “promotion of public interest” under Subparagraph 2 in the proviso of Paragraph 1 of Article 20 of this Act and constituted permitted use beyond the scope of specific purposes.