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Blue House Has Used Anti-Wiretapping Cell Phones

Posted October. 06, 2003 23:08,   


A controversy was raised on October 6 as to whether or not the government distributed secret Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) cellular phones with a module that prevents wiretapping to some ministers and the president’s secretaries since April. So far, about this issue, the government has said, “The wiretapping of CDMA cell phones is theoretically possible but technologically impossible.” But some suspect that the government has purposely concealed the possibility of wiretapping.

Park Jin, a representative from the Grand National Party, spoke at the administration inspection of the Ministry of Information and Communication by the Parliamentary Scientific Technology and Information Committee and insisted, “According to a related official, the Blue House has been using cell phones with secret features since three or four years ago, and it has distributed updated versions of them from the president’s escort team to presidential secretaries and ministers since early this April.” He also added, “The Blue House originally intended to use the new secret cell phones from late last year but had to postpone the plan because of the controversy over cell phone wiretapping around that time. The phones were used right after President Roh Moo-hyun’s inauguration.” Another official has said in an interview with a journalist from our newspaper, “At the communication department of the Blue House, normal cell phones are disassembled and reassembled with a secret chip installed,” supporting the representative Park’s opinion.

However, Jin, Dae-jeh, the Minister of Information and Communication, answered at the inspection, “The Blue House has not used any secret cell phones.” Also, Yoon, Tae-young, the spokesperson for the Blue House, said in a telephone interview with us, “The Blue House has neither used an anti-wiretapping chip nor changed the distributed phones into new ones.” Representative Park said, “The Ministry has sent out an official letter saying,” The budget for purchasing and using secret cell phone services had to be raised before the secret cell phone service started in August 2002. After this, Busan city allocated four months of money at the first autumn budget allocation last year and twelve months of money for the current year’s budget. Also, the municipal government at Southern Cholla Province has also allocated money for the purchase of the secret cell phones.” According to the report by the Busan city, the money allocated for the cell phone purchase is 500,000 won per unit and the monthly fee was 30,000 won. Minister Jin explained, “It is true that we sent out official letters for the allocation of the secret cell phones, but we have cancelled the plan by not exercising the budget since we have discovered that cell phones could not be wiretapped.”

Meanwhile, Kwon Young-she, a representative from the Grand National Party, insisted at the inspection, “In February, Pantech and Curitel, a cell phone manufacturing company, had attempted to develop and sell secret cell phones that can prevent wiretapping by coding CDMA secret code once more. The National Intelligence Service found this out and banned the project. Eventually, the company stopped releasing the secret cell phones that surpasses decoding ability of the National Intelligence and recalled immediately 200 phones already distributed in the market.” Pantech and Curitel’s CEO, Song, Moon-sup explained, “We cancelled the plan to release the newly developed product not because of governmental pressure but because of the circumstances within our company.”