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Taiwan's leading 'civic hacker' helps fix cracks in democracy

Digital minister Audrey Tang trusts a kinder internet to form techno-democracies

Audrey Tan is based in Taipei and works globally via the internet. (Photo by Toshiyuki Kumagai)

TOKYO -- Taiwan's digital minister Audrey Tang is the face of civic hackers worldwide. While being lauded for developing a "mask map" app that shows stores stocked with face coverings, Tang's tech skills have always been overshadowed by her vision of using technology to advance benevolent democratic processes.

"I do not naively believe that the world will magically become a better place as long as everyone has good intentions," Tang said in a keynote at the virtual Code for Japan Summit 2020 on Oct. 17. But "digital spaces allow footprints of kindness to remain," she said, stressing that "trust will continue to accumulate" like a distributed "ledger" if people keep being kind on the internet.

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