Last year, Soranet, the then-largest porn site in Korea, was officially shut down due to illegal footage of women wandering on the internet without their consent, also known as “revenge pornography.” In spite of such changes, however, the problem of hidden cameras has and is continuing to increase. The essential concern that women have goes beyond becoming the victim of illegal filming through hidden cameras; the most unnerving is the fact that the footage can go into anyone’s hands anywhere and anytime. Once the illicit video is uploaded online, there is no way to stop it from circulating. Consequently, women reported that they are habitually alert in public places, such as subway stations and restrooms, where most of the illegal filming occurs.
This is the main concern that women have regarding hidden cameras: worse than becoming the victim of illegal filming through hidden cameras is the fact that the footage can go into anyone’s hands anywhere and anytime. Once the illicit video is uploaded online, there is no way to stop it from spreading. Consequently, women reported that they are habitually alert in public places, such as subway stations and restrooms, where most of the illegal filming occurs.
What’s worse, the technology used to film for illicit purposes has developed over time; now, cameras are hidden in smaller devices, such as pens, keys, watches, etc. Even when the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency searched for cameras in 1,474 public facilities, including subway and train stations, bus terminals, and universities, they failed to find a single one.
In light of such concerns, the government implemented a new policy on Sept. 27: along with thorough inspections of public facilities and stronger regulations on illegal camera distribution and possession, the punishment for illicit filming has increased to five years of imprisonment and seven years if the video is spreading on the internet.
Yet, although the government’s policy may seem like an appropriate measure in attacking this issue, it is not far from a temporary hold that may prevent only a small number of hidden camera cases. As demonstrated by the inability to track down the hidden cameras by the police agency, the efficiency of such a policy is still in question.
Furthermore, the policy only reaches to the prevention of filming but doesn’t touch upon the events after the footage leaks out to the internet. For the last three years, the Korea Communications Commission has received 15,000 requests for video removal online, yet only 3.7 percent of such videos have been deleted. The concerns regarding the filming and distribution of illicit videos are on-going but the government’s policy may not be strong enough to accurately and fully respond to the scale of the problem.