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Public Administration News  
Republic of Korea: Personal Info Online Despite Law Revision
Source: koreaherald.com
Source Date: Monday, October 31, 2011
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: Korea (Republic of)
Created: Oct 31, 2011

Private personal information is readily available online a month after a revision of the personal information protection law took effect, leaving much of the population here at risk.

According to Internet security experts on Monday, private information including resident registration numbers of Grand National Party lawmaker Na Kyung-won, who ran for Seoul mayor, civil servants and people with disabilities can be found online.

Na’s resident registration number, for instance, was first discovered on June 14 and was still displayed as of Monday.

“The personal information protection law is unable to serve its purpose, because its monitoring software is incomplete,” said one Internet security expert. “There are some 50 confirmed sites that are leaking private personal information on the web.”

A quick keyword search shows that government organizations including the Human Resources Development Service of Korea, the Jung-gu district office of Daegu Metropolitan City and the Young-nam Institute of Construction Technology Education poorly protect information.

One website of an education facility for construction has left the resident registration numbers of some 50,000 students exposed over the past year.

According to Internet security experts, the situation is just as grave for people with disabilities.

The right combination of keywords in an online search reveals the names, addresses, phone numbers and types of disabilities of those who receive disability pension. All the information can be downloaded in one convenient file.

“When the personal information of people with disabilities is leaked, there is a much higher chance that they will be taken advantage of because of their lack of ability to appropriately react to the incident,” according to Bae Bok-ju, head of the Women with Disabilities Empathy.

Those who have personal information in the systems of credit card and capital firms have also had personal information leaked.

According to a survey of 60 credit card, insurance and other firms by the Korea Consumer Agency on Friday, only 27 have applied newly revised policies regarding the handling of personal information this year.

In July, hackers attacked SK Communications and made off with the personal information of 35 million clients at the Cyworld social networking site and Nate online portal. According to government data, Korea’s population falls just below 49 million people.

In order to address increasing concerns over the poor protection of information, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance plans to increase its information protection budget by 29.4 percent to 263.3 billion won ($237.2 million) for next year.
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