By Chi-Hao James Lo, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Infamous social networking website Ashley Madison launched its Taiwanese website yesterday, prompting public outcries from women rights groups, religious conservatives, legislators and concerned citizens towards the competence of the National Communications Commission (NCC). With “Life is short, have an affair” as its promotional slogan, Ashley Madison isn’t an online dating website in its traditional sense. Created by former lawyer and ex-sports agent Noel Biderman, who specialized in celebrity athlete divorces during his career, the social network company provides adulterous matching services towards men and women in committed relationships. The site currently holds 28,000 women members out of 83,000 in 30 countries, with Taiwan as its third official Asian launch following the company’s success in Japan and Hong Kong.
Several DPP legislators criticized the lack of precautions taken by the National Police Agency (NPA) and the NCC. Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) stated, that the NCC has performed its duty irresponsibly, for allowing a website with such degraded morals to pollute the virtuous values of the Taiwanese people. Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) recommended the termination of the website to the NCC, warning the potential social problems within families Ashley Madison might spur. NCC commented, if civilian reports are filled against the website in the future, the commission will forward the cases to relevant authorities for further investigation. Concerned women rights groups such as the Modern Women’s Foundation (MWF) and the Awakening Foundation (AF) voiced their disapproval of the website’s availability in Taiwan, citing immoral consequences which will only increase Taiwan’s divorce rate, currently the world’s third highest right below the United States and Japan. Chief executive officer of MWF Yao Shu-wen (姚淑文) and Director Chen,Hsiu-hsia (陳秀霞) of the AF warned that infidelity is current still a crime punishable by law in Taiwan, and the website’s flagrant publicity on adultery encourages the people to disobey the law, which is a direct contestation against the authorities of Taiwan. Rev. Fr. Otfried Chan (陳科), secretary-general of the Chinese Regional Bishop’s Conference (CRBC), represented the concerns from the Taiwanese Catholic community, stating that the biggest problem Ashley Madison might bring to Taiwan, is the possibility of the platform being used as a alternative outlet for prostitution and sex trafficking. With the ease of subscription, there is no guarantee towards the authenticity of one’s identity, needless to say the organization of which one might be a part of, even if the company guarantees otherwise, as there is never a real assurance when it comes to the internet.