[EDITORIALS]An abuse of powerThe government is said to be considering giving private companies personal information the government has obtained about potential candidates for managerial positions. The idea originated with President Roh Moo-hyun’s emphasis on taking preventive measures against “the anti-social activities of those in positions of social leadership that are still outside the control of our society.” Mr. Roh proposed the idea at a meeting of government agencies that deal with corruption. But it is likely that this measure will violate the privacy and human rights of individuals. It will be like burning down one’s house to get rid of mice.
The idea of the government supplying the private sector with personal information, obtained through its powerful intelligence-gathering capabilities, is a dangerous one. First of all, whether the government is even entitled to collect such information and make it public will be questioned. Naturally, issues of government infringement on privacy and human rights and violations of the Constitution will be raised.
It is also likely that the measure will be seen as an attempt to intervene in companies’ personnel matters. If such a policy is institutionalized, businesses will be reluctant to employ people who do not share the views of the government or the regime in power.
The Blue House’s explanation, that the intent is to fight corruption among the social elite, is not persuasive. People in that category may be executives at several major big businesses. We must first question why the government has maintained files of secret information about them. This proposal amounts to a confession that the government has abused its power.
Since the plan was revealed to the press, the Blue House has taken a step backward, saying that it is only an idea and that it is being studied in the long term. But we wonder how such an order could be given in the president’s name unless it had been thought through. We cannot understand how the president can have such unconstitutional, power-driven ideas. He has no need to worry about businesses’ personnel matters; he should worry about the government’s. He should first correct his own unwarranted appointments of droves of unqualified people to head public enterprises. How can he criticize corruption in business while making plans to pardon corrupt politicians en masse?