Gov’t to ban collecting resident info

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Gov’t to ban collecting resident info

The government said yesterday it will ban the collection of resident registration numbers in principle starting later this year, as part of efforts to strengthen the protection of personal information and prevent its abuse by hackers and other criminals.

Under new measures set to take effect after the revision of the Personal Information Protection Act, government offices and private companies will basically be prohibited from gathering and using resident registration numbers online starting in August and offline by the end of this year, the government said.

The measures, jointly announced by the Korea Communications Commission, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the Financial Services Commission, will be enforced, except for in inevitable circumstances. Resident registration numbers have been widely used for the purposes of administrative, financial, medical and welfare services.

The move comes as a number of local companies that collected and stored users’ identification information came under cyberattacks last year, compromising the private information of millions of Koreans.

Currently, 17.8 percent of some 1.8 million local Web sites and 633 government offices collect and store personal information, according to government officials.

In addition, the government said it will revamp the current system of storing private data. Under the plan, those who supervise private information will be required to install a special software program on their computers.

For Internet users who do not wish to provide resident registration numbers, the government said it will permit alternative verification methods such as the providing of cell phone numbers, digital signatures and Internet personal identification numbers called i-PIN. Yonhap
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