[뉴스AS] From the investigation of ‘avoidance’ to the airlift… 11 years of controversy over communication data collection

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Controversy is brewing over the collection of communications data from journalists and politicians by the High Commissioner’s Office of Crime Investigation (PRA). Due to the nature of the complicated case involving prosecutors, politicians, and reporters, such as indictment and leakage of indictments, confirmation of the other party is unavoidable in terms of investigative techniques. Even the claim that it is a ‘reporter and politician’s inspection’ is less convincing in light of the situation in which the prosecution and the police collect millions of communication data a year. However, criticism is growing from the media and human rights groups that the Ministry of Public Security, which was launched with the declaration of human rights-friendly investigations as part of the prosecution reform, is following decades of investigation practices for convenience. This year, the Ministry of Air Transport has collected communication data from dozens of reporters from about 10 media outlets. Correspondence data were also collected by legal reporters by the Investigation Division 2, Investigation Division 3, and Investigation Division of the Ministry of Airlift and Public Security 5 times per person recently. Reported criticism of the public service As for the reporter, it was found that they obtained a court warrant and secured data confirming the communication facts. The agency counters that it is a ‘normal’ communication data collection in that the current investigation target is lawyers and politicians who frequently talk to reporters. However, this practice of collecting communication data without a warrant has frequently sparked controversy over the constitutionality of information and human rights over the past decade. Investigation and intelligence agencies collect △communication data, △communication fact confirmation data, or take △communication restriction measures as necessary. Communication data refers to the name, resident registration number, address, phone number, ID, and date of service subscription/cancellation of wired/wireless/internet communication service subscribers. Investigative agencies, etc., can receive unlimited data without permission from the court by requesting a mobile communication service provider, etc. On the other hand, communication confirmation data contains more specific information than communication data. Although it is not possible to get a glimpse of the contents of the call, it is possible to know the date and time of call/text message transmission, call time, and the location of the originating base station. A court warrant is required as it is subject to the Communications Secret Protection Act. Communication restriction measures are equivalent to wiretapping. You can view the contents of calls and e-mails in real time by receiving a court warrant. According to the Communications Secret Protection Act, this is only possible for serious crimes such as rebellion, so the subject of the request is the National Intelligence Service in many cases.

Correspondence data of reporter Son Hyeon-soo of the Hankyoreh's legal team collected by the High Commissioner's Crime Investigation Agency and the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

Correspondence data of reporter Son Hyeon-soo of the legal team collected by the high-ranking public officials’ crime investigation department and the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

What is controversial in the investigation of the Airborne Service is mainly the collection of communication data. Most of the subjects of the collection are reporters covering the Airborne Service and the prosecution. In addition, some members of the People’s Power were also subject to communication data collection. Usually, an investigative agency provides communication data such as name and address to a mobile communication company to verify who has the phone number in the call history during the investigation period after obtaining a court warrant to obtain the communication fact confirmation data of the subject of investigation (inside investigation/suspect) to request Through this, if a suspect is suspected of being involved in the investigation, it is classified as a subject of investigation, and if it is not, a simple caller will be excluded from the investigation. The Ministry of Air Transport also explains that it used communication data in this way and had no purpose to inspect journalists. However, the legal circles point out that the public prosecution service, which suffers from controversy over investigative power, is focused on easy practices rather than thinking about new methods of investigation. Because of the lack of investigation experience and know-how, it seems that they were trying to find a breakthrough by collecting trawl-type communication data, which is used by the prosecution and the police. On the 23rd, a lawyer from the prosecution with extensive experience in special investigations said, “In the course of the investigation, communication data collection is inevitable. However, depending on the case or subject of the investigation, it is necessary to think about an investigation method that minimizes political controversies. When viewing communications data of journalists and politicians without a warrant, we need to accurately determine the basis and scope of the investigation so that there is no controversy.” Controversy over collection of communication data began in earnest The 2010 ‘Avoidance’ incident during the Lee Myung-bak administrationThis was an opportunity. At the time, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yoo In-chon sued a netizen who uploaded a video of ‘avoidance’. Accordingly, Naver’s behavior of handing over customer information to an investigative agency without a warrant issued by the court rose to the brink. The court acknowledged Naver’s fault and ruled that alimony be paid, and major portal sites have since stopped providing communication data arbitrarily. However, the voluntary provision of communication data by mobile carriers did not stop. In August 2012, two months before the court’s decision, the Constitutional Court ruled that a request for the provision of communication data by an investigative agency under the Telecommunications Business Act was a ‘voluntary investigation’. This is because it was believed that mobile communication companies may not respond to the investigation agency’s request to provide communication data. However, information and human rights groups point out that the reality is that for nearly 10 years since then, mobile carriers have responded 100% to the request for communication data provided by investigative agencies. In fact, the number of communication data (number of phone numbers) arbitrarily provided by telecommunication operators such as mobile carriers to the prosecution, police, National Intelligence Service, military investigation agencies, as well as the Korea Customs Service, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Employment and Labor, and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is beyond imagination. do. Even after peaking at 9,574,659 cases in 2013 and 12,967,456 cases in 2014 when the Sewol ferry disaster occurred, it reached 10,57,079 cases in 2015 and 8,272,504 cases in 2016. Although it is on a declining trend under the Moon Jae-in administration, more than 5 million telecommunication data inquiries are steadily being made, including 6.3 million cases in 2017, 6,141,107 cases in 2018, 6028,268 cases in 2019, and 5,484,917 cases in 2020.

Communication data collected by information and investigation agencies on January 7, 2016.  In May of that year, reporters from the Hankyoreh filed a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court asking for the legitimacy of collecting communication data.

Communication data collected by information and investigation agencies on January 7, 2016. In May of that year, reporters filed a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court asking for the justification of collecting communication data.

In May 2016, during the Park Geun-hye administration, trawl-type communication data were collected from information and investigation agencies such as the prosecution, the police, and the National Intelligence Service. 26 reporters and 500 citizens including students, activists of civic groups and artists filed a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court(2016 Hunma 388) was proposed. At that time, the National Intelligence Service and others collected indiscriminate communication data on reporters, survivors of the Sewol ferry incident, opposition party officials, and the KCTU. had no reaction. Earlier, at the request of the National Intelligence Service, the Saenuri Party also proposed an amendment to the Communications Secrets Protection Act to facilitate wiretapping. The Constitutional Court has not reached a conclusion on the constitutional complaint filed by reporters and others for more than five years. In this regard, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea announced in December 2016, “The communication data provision system has an excessively broad purpose and target range for personal information collection, no judicial control is implemented before or after, and a notice to recognize the fact that one’s personal information has been provided. There is a possibility that the right to self-determination of personal information may be infringed due to the lack of procedures.” Reporter Nam-il Kim [email protected] ▶Related articles: NIS, reporters, families of the Sewol ferry, and college students inquired about a pile of communication data

https://www.hani.co.kr/arti/society/society_general/737301.html



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