Taiwan’s so-called ‘electronic fence’ monitor for those quarantined raises privacy concerns: report

The government in Taiwan-- in an effort to suppress the spread of the coronavirus-- has employed a so-called "electronic fence" that uses location tracking on mobile phones to alert authorities if someone under quarantine is on the move or turns off their phones.

The initiative has raised some concerns that the government is "teaming up with telecommunications companies to track" phones, a flight attendant there told Reuters. The person said the partnership is "creepy."

The report said many are fine with the policy. The report pointed to Taiwan's ability to keep its reported cases to 108.

The government insists that the measure helps ensure the public’s safety. The Reuters report said that officials call these phones about twice a day to make sure the person did not leave the device anywhere. If there's any loss of contact, authorities are pinged in about 15 minutes.


The outbreak of COVID-19 has sickened more than 244,000 people worldwide and has left more than 10,000 dead, with thousands of new cases confirmed each day.

There is much to learn about the virus and how exactly it is transmitted. Virologists point out that the virus is particularly difficult because people infected may have very few symptoms.

Taiwan is not the first government in the region to use technology to track those quarantined. The report pointed out that Hong Kong has given out location-tracking wristbands.


Jyan Hong-wei, head of Taiwan’s Department of Cyber Security, told  Reuters that the goal is to “stop people from running around and spreading the infection.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report