Go to contents

MIC Collects Personal Information without Legal Basis

Posted April. 19, 2005 23:04,   


The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) was found to have collected the personal information of 5,600 people, including juveniles, without a clear-cut legal basis.

The ministry has collected 3,600 fingerprints and 2,020 facial skeletal features over the two years since 2002 with an aim to build a personal information database. Also, some of the information is from juveniles, according to the material that the ministry submitted on April 19 to the Science, Technology, Information and Telecommunication Committee of the National Assembly.

The ministry spent 2.8 billion won to collect the information, paying 30,000-40,000 won for each fingerprint and 40,000-100,000 won for each facial image.

The ministry accounted for the necessity of personal information database for creating a better experimental environment, which is essential for the research and development of the relevant industries, academic circles and institutions. The collection was intended to enhance the technical competitiveness of local products, the ministry said.

Minister Jin Dae-je explained that the ministry did not collect personal information such as names, addresses, or phone numbers to prevent privacy infringement, and that in the case of juveniles, the ministry received written agreements of their parents.

Suh Hye-seok of the ruling Uri Party pointed out that considering that the personal information protection is considered to be a serious social issue today, including even juveniles as subjects for the research is problematic, and that a law to prevent any wrongful uses of the personal information should be prepared as soon as possible.

Suk-Min Hong smhong@donga.com