Capitalizing on loopholes

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Capitalizing on loopholes

Cho Ju-bin was arrested for allegedly blackmailing victims, including children and teens, into taking pornographic photos and videos against their will and selling them. He threatened them with his access to private information like their home address and family details. Cho tracked and stocked the personal files of the girls he contacted online based on simple information like their name and birth date. He allegedly got help from public service workers or conscripts posted to district office administrative service instead of military duty.

Cho was reported to have pulled in these public service workers as accomplices to his crime by getting personal information from them in return for their membership to the chat rooms accessing his pornography service. The information became the tools he used against his victims. The girls had to comply with his monstrous demands because he threatened to send pictures or videos of them to their families or others. Cho called them his slaves.

His accomplices used their access to an administrative computer network to dig up information on the victims. Social service conscripts in principle cannot access personal information on civilians. They can only access the information under the supervision of district administration staff. But they easily found the information. District offices claim that they could have gotten the information when they were not being supervised. But the findings so far suggest they could have dumped their duties onto social service workers or did not restrict their access to the government computer network.

Cho capitalized on the loopholes. Because of their complacency, government employees and district offices have become accomplices to his sex crime.

Amid the spread of the coronavirus, local government employees leaked information about the names and workplaces of the people who tested positive for the virus. They spread the information on messaging platforms and chat rooms to show off their authority over private information.

The government has toughened rules on disclosure of suspects. Cho’s name and identify was revealed after two million citizens petitioned for the disclosure. But private information can easily be accessed by public service workers or staff at schools. Supervisors and others in power must stay abreast of who is accessing what information. The government must put a greater effort into protecting the privacy of its civilians.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 27, Page 34
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