[EDITORIALS]Invasion of Privacy FrighteningIt is disturbing to learn how widespread the breach of privacy is through mobile telephone companies and credit card companies. It cannot be stressed enough that availability of private personal information through these services must be stopped, and it is especially so because the services have become necessities in the age of information technology and will become more so.
From what the police tell us, it would appear that mobile telephone companies cannot care less about how private customer information is handled. There is hardly any obstacle to obtaining access to databases on personal information and call records at one of the 4,300 mobile phone subscription outlets, according to law-enforcement authorities. What is more, equipped with a password, a would-be snooper does not even have to go through an employee of the outlets but simply needs to go online to get the information he wants from the mobile phone company Web sites.
What is more outrageous is what the companies themselves had to say about the issue: There is nothing to stop the leakage of customer information. The systems are not equipped to track the traces of snoopers, and the security of personal information is not subject to audit and supervision, either internal or by authorities. This means that it is impossible to know precisely how deep and widespread the problem is, and that is the situation mobile phone subscribers, who make up most of the country's adult population, are dealt with. Police reports only begin to show that the number of victimes are on the rise recently.
The information entrusted to credit card companies is apparently not any more secure. Reports have shown that some Internet shopping sites are authorizing a credit sale without asking for a password. The practice cannot be helping to reduce the misuse of lost or stolen credit cards.
Along with the sharp increase in wiretapping recently, the lax security of personal information through mobile phone and credit card companies runs against the development of the age of information technology. We would be the world's laughingstock if we pretend to be making advances into a knowledge-based society when there is a hole in the protection of personal information and communication data.