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Illegal Cell Phone Tracking Services

Posted February. 05, 2007 03:00,   


Three major domestic telecom companies were found to have illegally operated cell phone tracking services.

The Ministry of Information and Communication submitted a report on the current state of mobile operators’ tracking services to Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Tae-hwan on the Science, Technology, Information and Communication Committee in the National Assembly. The findings showed that mobile carriers violated a law to notify the person being located by the system.

Article 19 Section 3 of the law on the use of tracking information and protection of individuals, which went into effect in August 2005 stipulates that an operator must notify the tracked person in case it offers the tracking information to a third party.

In breach of the law, the three carriers never informed the tracked people while providing the service 180.85 million times over the period from August 2005 to June last year.

By company, SK telecom tops the list by offering the service for 143.36 million times, followed by KTF’s 22.44 million times, and LG Telecom’s 15.05 million times. The combined sales from the service amounted to about 140 billion won.

Currently the companies charge 120 won each time for the service and receive data transmission fees separately.

It is estimated that they collected another 230 billion won in sales by offering the tracking services for about 300 million cases from August 2005 to the end of last year.

Cell phone tracking services such as buddy tracing programs are allowed only to those who agreed to share the location information.

A telecom company official said that it was only a mistake in service management and never an intended consequence and said they would soon have a discussion with the Information Ministry over the privacy of service users.