Posted October. 20, 2008 08:44,
The decision by the National Health Insurance Corp. to outsource surveys to companies has resulted in a massive leak of the personal information of millions of subscribers.
According to a report given to ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Yu Il-ho, a member of the parliamentary health, welfare and family affairs committee, the Health Insurance Research Institute under the corporation provided personal information on subscribers around 20 times to companies assigned to poll patients user fees between 2006 and last year.
Researchers handed over unencrypted personal information, meaning personal subscriber information delivered to surveying companies were vulnerable to leakage.
Worse, the insurance corporation`s researchers delivered portable storage devices containing personal information to the surveyors and used e-mail accounts provided by portal sites 14 times.
The mishandling of personal information was discovered through an internal audit process. The insurance corporation said an estimated 1.5 million subscribers had their personal information leaked. Given the organization`s failure to keep records of such leakage cases, however, the number could be higher.
The corporation`s rules also stipulate that approval is needed from a committee when a large volume of personal subscriber information is given to external entities. But the internal audit results showed that researchers got approval only four times.