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Bugging on communications services up

Posted September. 14, 2000 00:06,   


Eavesdropping on hand-held phones and Internet PC communications by investigating agencies have increased up to 70% as number of calls on mobile communication devices are sharply increasing. Eavesdropping by investigating agencies not only cover calls but also Internet electronic mails and messages on hand-held phones, raising a heated dispute over ¡°invasion of privacy¡±.

The ministry of Information and Communication revealed on Thursday that the number of eavesdropping cases by investigating agencies during the first half recorded 1,115, a reduction of 37.4%, from the same period last year of 1,782. Moreover, the ministry revealed that emergency evesdroppings reduced by 29.2% to 68 this year from 96 last year. However, this only represents evesdroppings on wired phones. Consequently if evesdroppings on hand-held phones and Internet PC communications are included, the numbers will magnify. An official from the ¡°Citizen¡¯s Coalition for Elimination of Censorship on Information and Communication¡± warned that the eavesdropping has surpassed the danger level, threatening privacy and freedom of expression.

Eavesdropping for the first half averages 9 cases a day and 413 cases for information materials. Recording calls, retracing senders and receivers, and recording calls from Internet phones have been used frequently for eavesdropping, showing that the ratio of real time eavesdropping is increasing. The number of general eavesdropping by regions, Seoul accounted for 38.3%, Geonggi (including Inchon) 18.8%, and Geongnam (including Busan, and Ulsan) 13.7%. Investigating agencies that frequented eavesdropping consist of the police with 48.6%(575 cases), National Intelligence Service 31.9% (377 cases), the prosecutor¡¯s office 11.4% (135 cases) and military investigating agencies with 8.1% (96 cases).