Watching the detectivesIs the Korean National Intelligence Service watching us like Big Brother in George Orwell’s novel “1984?” On Monday, the Grand National Party acquired the intelligence service’s data on how other government agencies use electronic data. This news made the existence of Big Brother even more probable. It was revealed that the National Intelligence Service is capable of looking at 17 different types of individual data at 14 government agencies.
The intelligence agency can use the government security network to connect directly with nine government bodies. The intelligence body can connect to government agencies and examine data regarding an individual’s registration information, military information and in the case of civil workers, their personnel files. It can easily obtain information about an individual’s income or real estate purchases. That means the National Intelligence Service can look into people’s lives whenever they want.
Occasionally the intelligence agency will need to obtain information from the government network. But it is wrong that the agency uses an independent ID to connect to the network when it searches an individual’s information. The law stipulates that the National Intelligence Service’s job is limited to collecting, organizing and distributing information from inside and outside the country regarding national security. This does not seem to include access to an individual’s income or real estate files.
The intelligence agency says it submitted requests to the other government offices concerned when it was looking for information, but it is doubtful that it did so, especially now we know that a National Intelligence Service staff member used the government network to examine the real estate purchases and holdings of the Grand National Party’s presidential hopeful.
When the National Intelligence Service is allowed to search through people’s information without any limits, misunderstandings regarding its political neutrality can occur.
One is also tempted to assume that the agency will infringe upon an individual’s freedom and privacy. It is right to limit the intelligence agency’s access to computer networks that are directly related to national security.
Measures to keep the intelligence service in check must be devised. For example, when the need arises to examine someone’s personal information, the national intelligence service must be required to report this to the National Assembly for oversight.
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