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Driver Services Trade Client Information

Posted November. 12, 2005 08:44,   


The personal information of people who use driver services (a car service minus the car, only a driver) is being leaked left and right. Major driver agencies in the metropolitan area record and save personal information of their clients, then later share or sell them.

Moreover, many companies offer their services for low prices to lure callers. They save the callers’ personal information, then send advertisement messages to their cell phones or sell the information to upstart companies.

Companies hard at work collecting personal information–

Companies have taken to sending mass messaging ads to cell phones rather than handing out fliers or name cards on the streets.

Once a person calls one of these companies, the person’s name, address, and major destination is all saved in their databases. Furthermore, wrong numbers and mere inquiry phone call information is also saved.

According to Korea Service Driver Society, 60% of the 5,000 driver service firms in Korea pool all the information they collect and operate a joint call center.

One employee of a firm located in Joonglang-gu, Seoul said, “Newly established companies usually operate jointly on one computer system, and the company that first sees the request for a driver sends one out. These companies give a part of their profits to the company that first accepted the request, and share the client’s personal information.”

One president of a firm in Gyeonggi-do said in a response to a Dong-A Ilbo’s proposition: “I would give the personal information of our 100 clients, phones, and walkie-talkies all for 15 million won to whoever will buy this company.”

Some companies try to lure calls by offering cheap prices, just to collect personal information. One representative of a firm in Yangcheon-gu Seoul confessed, “We advertise ‘5,000 won for anywhere in Seoul.” Then when a customer calls, we reply that we can’t go there right now, and save their phone numbers to establish a mass messaging system.

Consumer sufferings-

Sometimes collected personal information gives the customers a hard time.

The driver service companies use their clients’ home addresses to create a blacklist. The call center operators either block phone calls from blacklisted clients or tell them there are no more drivers.

Many consumers are posting complaints on the message boards of the Korea Consumer Protection Board, citing cases of blocked complaint calls to driver service companies, and having suffered losses from being connected to an uninsured company.

Kim Jeong-woo of Jinbo Network’s policy division said “There is no legal penalty for a private company to collect personal information for commercial purposes. However, for a company to acquire personal information of non-clients and send spam text messages are clearly a breach of the current laws.”

Kim Min-seop of the Korea Information Security Agency said, “If the current bill on the protection of personal information is passed by the National Assembly, it will be possible to regulate private companies collecting personal information.”

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com