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Government denies reports of ID leaks

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Published : 2014-01-21 20:00
Updated : 2014-01-21 20:00

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration on Tuesday denied an earlier newspaper report claiming that electronic identification cards that contain personal information of government workers had been leaked.

The ministry said no personal information from electronic government IDs had been taken, although thousands of officials could have been affected by a major credit card data leak involving KB Kookmin Card, NongHyup Card and Lotte Card, earlier this month. Law enforcement officials charged three people on Jan. 9 with selling private information from the three credit card companies.

A Seoul daily said earlier in the day that electronic IDs holding key personal information such as birthdates, blood types, and work information had been leaked as a part of the credit card data breach.

The newspaper said the information had been taken from the cards because they also function as personal cash cards, with these functions provided by the same financial companies who lost their client data en masse.

The government denied the claim.

“The report that the private information of 1 million public officials was leaked is absolutely wrong,” said a ministry official.

The government cited executives from KB Kookmin Card, NongHyup Card, and Lotte Card, saying personal information held within electronic IDs were not linked to the database of credit cards. A firewall, a security mechanism within databases that denies access to unauthorized users, separates the personal information database of the cash cards used by public officials from those used by the credit card companies.

The government acknowledged that 31,400 public officials, who got their cash cards before KB Kookmin Bank installed a firewall in 2010, might have lost their personal data as a result of the leak. But no information that could imply government employment such as workplace and blood type was leaked, officials said.

By Jeong Hunny (hj257@heraldcorp.com)

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