Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
compiled by Graham Greenleaf
The Commissioner will have a substantial staff, with applications having closed recently for three year contracts for positions of Deputy Privacy Commissioner, Assistant Privacy Commissioner, and other assorted executive, legal and administrative positions.
`DACOM has been selected as the official developer for the Electronic Identification Card project which is part of the government's ultra-speed communication network building project. Managed by the Ministry of Domestic Affairs, the US$413 million project is being carried out in cooperation with the Korea Computer Institute. Once the project is completed in 1997, Koreans will be assigned a single integrated circuit (IC) card to consolidate the functions of ID card, driver's license, and medical insurance card. DACOM won the bidding amidst stiff competition as companies vied fiercely for the attractive business package promised by the project.
As 8,000 characters worth of information can be stored on the single credit card-sized card, personal information needed for issuing official documents and certificates can be accessed promptly by public offices, institutions, companies, and banks or other organisations. The Ministry of Domestic Affairs has announced that the new cards will be distributed starting in January 1997. Full implementation is scheduled to be completed by early 1998. While there are some nations in which drivers' licenses are used in place of ID cards, this project will be the first system in the world which combines multiple functions onto one card. Once distribution is completed, the card will greatly boost efficiency, saving the government US$1.3 billion and enabling it to eventually reduce its work force by 5,000 employees.'
The City of Seoul started to issue the Card to 1,000 citizens as a `test' in March. South Korea has a public sector privacy law, but its effect on this proposal is uncertain, as is legal basis for the card (and the `test').
Privacy advocates from Korea and elsewhere are taking steps to make Korean organisations aware of the implications of the proposal, and it will be an interesting and important development for privacy in the Asia-Pacific if any campaign of opposition develops.
(From information provided by Joohoan Kim, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.)
Customers have been given only a couple of weeks to opt out before caller ID starts, thus stacking the inertia deck even more heavily in Telecom's favour. An amazing aspect of this `service' is that those who have silent or restricted numbers will still have to `opt out' of having their number disclosed. Their Press Release claims that the Privacy Commissioner has been kept `fully informed'.