Good local time, everyone. I’m Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister.
It is a genuine honor to participate in the second Summit for Democracy. I will share Taiwan’s experiences in tackling common challenges facing our free and open societies and how emerging technologies strengthen human rights and democratic principles.
Since the inaugural Summit for Democracy in December 2021, the world has fundamentally changed. Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has sent shockwaves throughout the international community.
As democracies adapt to this reality, Taiwan shines brightly as a trustworthy and most reliable partner in promoting digital resilience. During the darkest days of COVID-19, our industries rose to the challenge, becoming a potent producer of essential medical supplies. Our civic technology supported the emergence of the Taiwan Can Help model in a global counter-pandemic coalition.
Based on this rock-solid foundation of collaboration, I signed the Declaration for the Future of the Internet in 2022, along with 60 partner countries. The declaration cemented our shared values and deepened our commitment to democratic allies, paving the way to free the future in the digital realm together.
At the heart of this vision is the Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda), and its objective of “digital resilience for all.” This comprises three levels: Emergency, industrial, and societal resilience.
Emergency resilience impels us to effectively respond to various crises, including cyberattacks and natural disasters. Recent incidents, such as those during the former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic visit to Taiwan, unsuccessfully attempted to undermine public trust in our democratic system.
To counter emerging threats, including AI-powered interactive deep fakes, we are consolidating public and private cybersecurity capabilities, implementing zero-trust principles, and conducting exercises to ensure the seamless operation of critical infrastructure during emergencies.
Starting this year, we’re integrating new satellite providers, enabling multiple networks to reinforce one another across land, sea, and air in times of crisis. The moda website uses IPFS, an emerging technology for censorship resistance, so everyone can donate connectivity to back us up, while also supporting journalists in autocracies so their reportage remains tamper-free.
Industrial resilience is our commitment to facilitating digital transformation across all sectors while fostering a robust ecosystem. Taiwan possesses a highly advanced IT industry with a world-class semiconductor supply chain and a wealth of experience neutralizing cyberthreats. With global standards such as SEMI E187, we elevate the Made in Taiwan brand to represent a guarantee of integrity and a solid shield to our democratic partners.
Societal resilience focuses on empowering our civil society by connecting to the democracy network. The moda initiated the Digital News Co-prosperity dialogues with global platforms and brought together the Ministry of Culture, National Communications Commission, and Fair Trade Commission to explore ways of fostering mutually beneficial cooperation with Taiwan’s print, broadcast, and digital journalists.
We believe that accurate news reporting is the bedrock of democracy, and digital competence requires a well-informed and discerning citizenry. In the face of authoritarian expansionism, democracies must confront formidable challenges undermining the delicate equilibrium between societal well-being and individual freedoms. Our efforts must go beyond devising protective measures — we’re envisioning a trajectory embracing the triad of participation, progress, and safety through the power of collective intelligence.
This approach is embodied in the moda’s overarching vision: Plurality, or collaborative diversity. When people from all walks of life can form digital public spaces together, we can empower the voices reaching across ideological divides and uncover our shared values in plain sight.
As we navigate uncharted waters, I urge you to stand with Taiwan in the pursuit of digital resilience. We must tap into our collective intelligence, innovation, and determination to effect real and lasting change. Let’s embark on this journey and show the world the indomitable spirit of democracy — together.
Thank you. Live long and … prosper.