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Disclosure of Bankrupts’ Personal Information Can Be Violation of Human Rights

Disclosure of Bankrupts’ Personal Information Can Be Violation of Human Rights

Posted August. 09, 2004 22:03,   


With the increased number of bankruptcies, the court is being criticized for its carelessness in treating personal information while dealing with administrative work related to personal bankruptcy.

A daily newspaper in Daegu on August 4 carried a public notice from the Daegu District Court which announced “the day of inquiry for bankruptcy exemption” listing, with the detailed personal information of 13 people residing in Daegu- Gyeongbuk Province.

The notice specified the bankrupts’ names, birthdays, full addresses, permanent domiciles, and inquiry date and place.

“The date of inquiry for exemption is a thing to be announced in a daily newspaper, but the situations vary between courts regarding how detailed the personal information is for exposure,” said an officer in the Public Affairs Department of Daegu District Court.

However, some voice concern that the personal information of bankruptcy claimants should be treated more prudently because disclosing it displeases the bankruptcy victims themselves and influences relations with creditors.

A Park (40, Andong, Gyeongbuk Province), who applied for a bankruptcy exemption, said, “Even though bankruptcy exemption is part of the legal system, people think of bankruptcy as a negative thing. I hope the personal information of bankrupts will no longer be publicized through newspapers.”

Another applicant for bankruptcy exemption who is waiting for the inquiry of next month said, “I am worried about the specified announcement of the inquiry date and even the time, as my relations with the creditors will remain even if I am exempted from bankruptcy.”

The court’s approval rate in exemption applications jumped from 58 percent in 2000 to 96 percent in the first half of this year. The date and time of inquiry for bankruptcy exemptions are important information for creditors.

Lawyers pointed out, “As personal information disclosed by a publicly-trusted institution such as a court is open to misuse, the courts should look for another way to announce the bankrupts.”

Concerning this, the court is taking the position that disclosure of personal information is unavoidable because of the character of the notice.

The bankruptcy act provides that the inquiry for bankruptcy exemption should be noticed in daily newspapers, but the extent of personal information disclosure is not stipulated.

Son Ji-ho, public information officer of the Supreme Court, said, “There is no specific formula, but public notice of courts is open to everybody. Even though disclosure of detailed personal information can be a violation of human rights, it is unavoidable.”

Kwon-Hyo Lee boriam@donga.com jin0619@donga.com