An inspection is needed

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An inspection is needed

Rep. Shim Jae-chul of the main opposition Liberal Korea Party (LKP) has been accused by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of illegally accessing budget files of the Korea Public Finance Information Service and leaking the budget information of nearly 30 public offices, including the Blue House. Upon the ministry’s complaint, prosecutors raided the lawmaker’s office on Friday and began an investigation.

Shim filed a counter-suit against the finance minister and others, claiming that he logged in with an ID given to him by the ministry and that the files he had been accused of illegally accessing came up on the screen when he pressed the backspace. The LKP accused the government of excessive oppression and called for a meeting of the parliamentary committee overseeing the ministry.

It is a pity that a ministry headed by the deputy prime minister is battling with a five-term veteran lawmaker who served as the deputy speaker of the Assembly. The parliament’s general session in September could be interrupted by the conflict. The matter needs to be quickly resolved.

If the Finance Ministry’s files were really hacked and leaked, the suspect should face criminal charges. But Shim claims the files appeared after several keyboard taps and demonstrated exactly what happened. If what Shim says is true, the security of government data is at risk. Authorities must also investigate potential loopholes in the government data protection system.

The files Shim downloaded contained detailed information on the expenses of projects carried out by the heads of state-owned entities. The government accused the legislator of leaking confidential materials. But the spending of public enterprise heads should be known. Shim said that the files showed a Blue House credit card was used at an adult entertainment establishment. The Blue House accused Shim of lying. The affair calls for an inquiry by the Board of Audit and Inspection.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 27, Page 30
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