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‘South Korean telecom companies misuse location data’

South Korea: Subcontractors of two South Korean mobile carriers sold location information of 200,000 customers, reported a Korean daily. With this report, the daily observed that this theft highlighted a deep hole in the protection of location information, and is a grave infringement of the privacy of subscribers.
The daily warned that misuse of location-based services (LBS) is on rise in the country. With more and more people embracing this technology, the potential for exploiting this service has also increased at an alarming rate. 
Exposing more such thefts, the report further stated that the South Korean police had also arrested engineers working for SK Telecom and KT for stealing and selling location information, which the telecom companies claim took place without their knowledge. Investigators said that private detectives and marketing companies bought the data from these engineers. Private detectives misused the information for chasing unfaithful husbands, wives and lovers at the request of spouses and partners. Two labour activists have even filed a petition with a South Korean court over infringement of their privacy due to police tracking their movements during demonstrations.
Last year, authorities used location technology to trace 120,000 criminal suspects, although it is unclear whether they used the information only in strict accordance with the law. The article further highlighted the nervousness among the customers over the possible misuse of location information as intelligence agencies could possibly abuse it. 
To curb such infringement of privacy, the report suggested that carriers should allow user-centric LBS so that subscribers can own and control their personal data. Without prior authorisation, carriers should not tap customers’ locations. Customers should be able to use an on-off switch to hide their real locations while still being able to enjoy the service.
Source: The Korea Times