The National Development Commission issued the Fa-Fa-1080000958 Circular of January 22, 2019 (hereinafter, the “Circular”), pointing out that in case of a police agency searching missing individuals and needing to request a household registration office to provide the contact telephone numbers of the missing individuals and of their relatives (family members) which they have provided when they handled household registration matters, such request meets the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Law.
Article 15, Subparagraph 1 of the Personal Information Protection Act provides: “Except for the information stated in Paragraph 1 of Article 6, a government agency shall collect or process personal data for specific purposes and shall meet any of the following circumstances: (1) it is within the scope of necessity for carrying out its statutory duties…”…The so-called “statutory duties” in the above provision should refer to a public agency’s duties stipulated under laws, orders mandated by law, autonomous statutes, autonomous rules mandated by law or autonomous statutes, or delegation rules mandated by law or central laws and regulations (compare Article 10 of the Enforcement Rules of the Personal Information Protection Act).
According to this Circular, Article 2, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 6 of the Organic Law for the National Police Agency and Article 12, Subparagraph 6 of the Regulations for the Affairs of the National Police Agency provide that the National Police Agency is in charge of the planning and supervision concerning the search of missing people, and the organic regulations for the police department in the government of each municipality under the direct jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan or each county (city) also specifically provide for matters relating to the search of missing people. Therefore, a policy agency may request a household registration office to provide information for specific purposes (e.g.: police administration; Code: 167) and within the scope of the duty to search missing people in order to pinpoint the whereabouts of missing people and find missing people as soon as possible. This can be deemed to meet the requirement under Article 15, Subparagraph 1 of the Personal Information Protection Act.
This Circular further pointed out that Article 16, Subparagraphs 3 and 4 of the Personal Information Protection Act provide: “A public agency… may use the personal data outside the scope of specific purposes in any of the following circumstances: (3) to prevent harm to the life, body, freedom or property of the individuals concerned; or (4) to prevent major harm to the rights and interests of other people…” Therefore, a household registration office seeks to retain the contact telephone numbers of the people handling household registration formalities for specific purposes (e.g., household administration, Code: 015) by collecting their personal telephone numbers with their approval to help contact the individuals concerned in case of any question concerning any household registration matter. Such telephone numbers should be used within the scope of necessity to fulfill the specific collection purposes. However, to prevent harm to the life, body, freedom or property of an individual, the provision of the contact telephone number of an individual reported missing to a policy agency or to provide the contact telephone numbers of the relatives (family members) of the missing individual to help locate the whereabouts of the missing individual as soon as possible should be found to meet Article 16, Subparagraph 3 or Subparagraph 4 of the Personal Information Protection Act, and such telephone numbers may be used beyond the scope of specific purposes.
Finally, this Circular points out that Article 5 of the Personal Information Protection Act provides: “Personal data shall be collected, processed or used out of respect for the rights and interests of the individuals concerned and by honest and creditable means without exceeding the scope of necessity for specific purposes and with justified and reasonable connections with the purposes of collection. Therefore, such requirement for the principle of proportionality should still be heeded by a policy agency and household registration office in the collection, processing or use of such information.