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Request for Emergency Eavesdropping of Mobile Phone Is Being Abused

Request for Emergency Eavesdropping of Mobile Phone Is Being Abused

Posted August. 24, 2001 08:42,   


It is revealed that mobile phone service companies have cooperated with investigation bodies for arbitrary eavesdropping requests without official permission. The companies revealed the secret code for voice mailboxes to the investigation bodies, enabling them to have free access to wiretapped mobile phones at any time.

It is also disclosed that 60.7 percent of eavesdropping during 1997~2000 by investigation bodies were suspended by the court due to the lack of permission granted by the court. This demonstrates that investigation bodies are abusing the use of wiretapping.

This information was disclosed in a report written by the National Assembly and submitted to Sim Jae-Chul( the Grand National Party) by the Ministry of Information and Communication on the 23rd for the inspection of the administration.

According to the report, mobile phone service companies such as SK Telecom, KTF, LG Telecom, and SK Sinsegi cooperated 32 times in eavesdropping without the court’s permission from 1998.2~ 1999.12.

If the investigation body needs access to voice mailboxes, the Service Company should record and then provide it, not revealing the secret code. But cases where the secret codes were given number up to 2288 times from 1997~1999 (June).

Also 60.7 percent (928 case) of the total eavesdropping of mobile phone (1529 case) was suspended without clear reason after the allotted time (35 hours, 48 hours before the end of 1999). The emergency eavesdropping request system enables investigation bodies to wiretap when there is not enough time to wait for a warrant. After eavesdropping, the investigation body should receive an arrest warrant within 36 hours. But it is reported that the investigation body eavesdropped freely for the allotted time and did not request arrest warrant.

Moreover, it is reported that 44 branches of 45 telephone offices in Seoul violated the communication related laws, such as observing restrictions on wiretap access. Also, the copies of the permission request were not preserved in several cases.