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Software upgraded to protect privacy on Web

  PLAY AUDIO

Aug 01,2006
The Information Ministry said yesterday that it has activated an improved software program that searches the Web, including defunct sites, for resident registration numbers that were exposed on the Internet without the resident’s knowledge. The Information Ministry was already running a program that scoured Web sites for resident registration numbers, and Web site operators that held such information were ordered to delete it. But the ministry overlooked Google’s “cache” feature, where the search engine stored information on Web sites. The ministry said that it developed a software program that searches resident registration numbers on search engine databases as well as current Web sites. A scan conducted from July 24-30 using this program on the Google database showed that about 95,000 individuals’ entire resident registration numbers were posted online. About 30 percent of the numbers were from people in their 20s, with 19 percent in their 30s and 18 percent in their 40s. The ministry said it would ask Google and any organizations operating Web sites containing resident registration numbers to delete the information. A Google agent in Korea said that U.S. headquarters could not comment because of the time difference with Korea, but that in the case of regular Web sites, the company has been cooperating fully with the ministry. The ministry said that cases of resident registration numbers being exposed on public and private Web sites have increased with the rise of Internet usage. It added that posting resident registration numbers online is a particularly egregious invasion of privacy because they include an individual’s gender, date of birth and birthplace ― information that can be used to apply for credit cards, buy online goods and gain access to other personal information. by Wohn Dong-hee


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