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Ministry of Information and Communication Developing Privacy Chips

Ministry of Information and Communication Developing Privacy Chips

Posted October. 08, 2003 22:37,   


On October 8, the Ministry of Information and Communication-led government program of developing a privacy function technology that prevents wiretapping of CDMA cellular phones was revealed.

It was also revealed that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) was deeply involved in this process, so there are mounting skepticisms about the role of NIS which has been all the while denying the possibility of cell-phone tapping.

Park Jin, representative of the Grand National Party, conveyed the announcement made by the Information and Communication ministry at the informal parliamentary inspection conducted by the Committee of Information and Communication Science and Technology that since 2002, related to the government-led wireless net project which intended to supply cellular phones with privacy function to each local autonomy, a national securities technology research center has been developing the privacy function technology. The research, with the ministry’s support of 1.4 billion won, was a joint project with a Korean S company to create a chip that could be externally attached to a cellular phone.

A ministry representative said, “But we postponed the plan to distribute these cellular phones.” When asked why, he answered, “We will state our position when we discuss it with NIS after the inspection by the National Assembly.”

Park met with the press after the inspection session and claimed, “NIS is stating their position as approving of the distribution of cellular phones with the privacy function only when the technology allows for the functions applicable for both voice and text messages.” To this, the Ministry of Information and Communication explained, “We have heard about their (NIS) position but we have not received an official report.”

Meanwhile, related to the rising suspicion that these phones were distributed to top Blue House officials, Yoo In-tae, and senior secretary to the President for Political Affairs, explained, “There was a plan to standardize the types of cell phones in case something happens, but we never bought the phones by bulk nor attached the privacy chips.”

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com