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No Inquiry of Telephone Call Details without a Warrant

Posted October. 09, 2003 22:43,   


In connection with the controversy over the ‘invasion of private life and the freedom of the press’ that the Central Investigation Department under the Supreme Public Prosecutor`s Office (SPPO) inquired about telephone call details of entry press without specific reason, it is known on October 9 that the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) plans to present an ‘amendment for the communications protection law’ that when a prosecutor needs to inquire telephone call details, he has to get courtroom’s approval from the National Assembly during next week.

According to the regulations in force, a prosecutor can inquire about telephone call details with the approval of a chief public prosecutor’s preliminary approval at the jurisdictional district public prosecutor`s office, and in case of emergency, he can ask for ex-post facto approval. The current scandal of the SPPO’s inquiry of telephone call details also performed with the approval of a chief public prosecutor at the Seoul District Public Prosecutors` Office.

“The regulations in force is for the prosecutor’s swift investigation, but the current scandal showed well that constitutional and fundamental rights, such as ‘the freedom of the press’ and ‘privacy protection,’ are invaded under abusing prosecution right,” explained MDP lawmaker Ham Seung-hee, judicial counselor of the Legislation & Judiciary Committee under the National Assembly the reason of law amendment.

Lawmaker Ham specially added that, “In case of an emergency that a prosecutor cannot get the courtroom’s approval, an amendment will recognize exceptions, however, the appropriate crimes, such as kidnapper and violations of national security-related laws, will be stated clearly on amendment and the prosecutor cannot abuse proviso.”

If the MDP proposes an amendment, the Grand National Party, which assumes a critical attitude, will also fall in the MDP, therefore, it is highly possible for the amendment to pass the National Assembly.

Hyung-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com