Is privacy cure worse than the disease? Some say yes

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Is privacy cure worse than the disease? Some say yes

As part of its drive to protect online privacy, the government will introduce next year a new identification system for subscribers registering with Internet sites, but its proposal is not entirely free of controversy. Currently, most Internet service companies in Korea require new subscribers to submit their real names and resident registration numbers, an equivalent of U.S. social security numbers, to confirm their identity. But a series of cases in which Internet users’ personal information was stolen and used fraudulently prompted calls for an end to the practice. The Ministry of Information and Communication yesterday unveiled measures that will enable Internet users to receive 13-digit numbers as an alternative to resident registration numbers. However, in a move likely to raise some eyebrows, applicants will have to submit private data such as bank account, credit card and mobile phone certificate numbers to a government agency that checks people’s credit ratings. “As the new law on resident registration numbers has not been set up yet, we have prepared three options for the Internet site operators. We plan to fully implement the system in 2007,” a spokesman for the information ministry said. by Seo Ji-eun

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