KT sued over data leaking

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KT sued over data leaking

The Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) is filing a public interest lawsuit against the nation’s No. 2 mobile carrier, KT, over leaked personal information. It is claiming damages of 1 million won ($933) per customer.

The CCEJ held a press conference in front of KT headquarters in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, yesterday saying the mobile carrier is accountable for the personal data leaks.

“Currently, 9.81 million people have had their personal information stolen from KT, while in 2012, 8.7 million people also lost personal data,” said a spokesman for the CCEJ.

“Nevertheless, KT did not put much effort in strengthening its security systems,” it said. “In order to let the company take legal responsibility, we will make a claim for damages on behalf of the victims of the massive data leak.”

The group claimed the personal data leaks arise from a corporate culture that regards customer information as a means of money-making.

“In the monthly fee that KT customers pay, a privacy cost is included,” the spokesman said. “Thus, we are filing public interest litigation and inviting victims of the leakage incident to join from today through April 16.”

To participate in the suit, customers will be charged a 10,000 won fee. They will also have to agree to donate 10 percent of any damages paid to public causes.

KT customers can apply at the CCEJ website.

The CCEJ also requested the government to mend the Financial Holding Company Act and the Credit Information Act, which allow sharing of customers’ personal information.

It also requested a change in the current system of resident registration numbers to ensure privacy of individuals’ information.

“The government and the National Assembly must recognize the seriousness of the repeated leaks of personal information. We will urge the government to institutionalize drastic measures at the National Assembly next month,” said the spokesman.

The organization also argued that KT must not impose penalties on customers who switch to other carriers in the middle of contracts due to the leaks.

Meanwhile, the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency booked a personal information security team manger at KT without detention on suspicion of violating the laws on information security.

The accused is suspected of allowing a hacker to steal the personal information of 12 million customers from KT’s website for one year.

The police decided that KT’s privacy measures and user authentication method was relatively weak compared to other companies and booked the security team manager.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]


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