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KCC to strengthen supervision of three major telecom firms

Korea Communications Commission said Thursday that it will strengthen its supervision and management of the country’s three telecom companies ― SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus ― to further prevent personal data and information leaks.

Its announcement came after KT, Korea’s second largest mobile carrier, was found to have had its system breached by a hacker, a company telemarketing agent, last month.

KCC, the country’s broadcasting and telecom watchdog, has launched a team of inspectors to probe KT, which is currently faced with growing criticism from the public for its belated handling of the leak. The company is also facing a possible class action lawsuit from over 30,000 people for failing to protect sensitive information. Data of some 8.7 million mobile phone users of KT, including their names, addresses and registration numbers, was hacked and leaked, according to media reports.

KCC said its supervising jurisdiction will extend beyond the headquarters of the telecom companies to their nationwide branches and sales agents, while demanding the companies strengthen their own oversight over their branches.

There are estimated to be more than 40,000 such branches and stores in Korea as of the end of July, KCC noted, adding that the government agency will work with the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the National Police Agency to prevent irregular telemarketing activities by the telecom industry.

KCC has devised countermeasures aimed at protecting personal information and forbidding illegal telemarketing operations, which will enable the telecom watchdog and other related ministries and agencies to enforce preventive action.

KCC added that it will periodically check and disclose from now on whether the telecom companies and their stores are effectively managing customers’ personal and sensitive data.

By Park Hyong-ki (