Betrayal of public trustThe police have revealed that KT and hanarotelecom have been using subscriber information illegally. The two major broad-band service providers handed over information on 7.3 million subscribers who have applied for service since 2004 to their respective affiliate companies, the police announced. Hanarotelecom sorted information based on age and subscription programs to transfer it to computer virus vaccine developers, telephone subscription sellers and others. The amount of information passed on to third parties reached 50 million cases. It is possible that the information may be going into the hands of the wrong people at this very moment.
It is astonishing that major companies that are supposed to be strict and secure in dealing with private information have been at the forefront of leaking information. The information wasn’t transferred by mistake like hacking or a virus. The two firms market themselves as putting customer satisfaction as their foremost goal, but instead they commit illegal crimes.
Whom can people trust when a simple subscription for broadband Internet service ends up revealing of personal information to undesired recipients?
The mishandling of personal information has already become a major crime. According to the Korea Information Security Agency, 23,333 cases of infringement regarding personal information have been reported. Personal information registered at the National Health Insurance Corp. has been released outside of the organization, while communication firms, insurance sellers and even loan sharks have got their hands on personal and private information. Personal information handed over illegally eventually ends up being used for voice phishing and unlawful cyber transactions.
The illegal use of personal information is a major crime and can destroy the foundation of a society based on trust. Each person has to be cautious, but there are limits. How can consumers trust companies when the two largest operators are guilty of misconduct?
The authorities must track down the wrongdoers ― whatever it takes. Stringent policies and penalties are mandatory. The government must conduct a full investigation on whether the entire case was planned and administered by the company or at the workers’ level. Clear and complete apologies are required from KT and hanarotelecom. They must fully cooperate with the police in the investigation. Excuses will not be accepted by the people.