In a discussion hosted by the DP, lawmakers and analysts say the current technological impossibility to distinguish between target and unrelated contents will lead to violations of individual rights'
Hankyoreh, Feb. 2, 2010
Discussion participants call for an absolute ban on packet eavesdropping:
In a discussion hosted by the DP, lawmakers and analysts say the current technological impossibility to distinguish between target and unrelated contents will lead to violations of individual rights
On Feb. 1 in the National Assembly’s discussion room, a computer screen displayed a dialogue between two Internet users who engaged in a conversation using different computers through MSN messenger. Participants in the discussion over packet eavesdropping were easily able to read the dialogue by connecting to the Internet users’ Internet line through a program called ‘Wire Shark.’ The discussion participants were also able to view the contents of e-mails sent through Internet portals such as Daum and Naver. The screen also displayed the revealed passwords as well as user IDs.
The discussion hosted by the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) pointed out the problems behind packet eavesdropping and suggested that it be banned. The discussion was held to seek a legal response to the issue, since people’s concern over packet eavesdropping has increased following the reports that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Defense Ministry’s intelligence agency have recently tripled the number of devices and equipment that can be used for packet eavesdropping.
The participants, including DP lawmakers, reacted negatively to the idea of permitting limited packet eavesdropping by saying, “It is impossible to tap only specific contents belonging to Internet users due to the nature of packet eavesdropping.” DP Lawmaker Park Young-sun said, “In this situation, when we attempt to restrict something that is impossible to be restricted technologically, it results in allowing packet eavesdropping in fact.”
Oh Dong-suk, law professor of Ajou University, said, “Packet eavesdropping should not be permitted until we have developed technology that can distinguish between the target and unrelated contents.” Oh continued, “Packet eavesdropping violates Constitutionally-guaranteed individual rights.” Thus, he suggested, “Packet eavesdropping should be completely prohibited.”
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