|Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok|
The nation’s chief economic policymaker made another public apology on Friday to contain mounting public anger over his comments on the worst-ever data leak by three local credit cards.
Before a breakfast meeting hosted by the Korea Management Association in Seoul on Friday, Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok bowed from the waist and said, “I thought I should apologize (again) to the public rather than explain the intention behind my words, if the words hurt the heart of the public.”
Public uproar has mounted since the minister made comments on Thursday insinuating that consumers were also responsible for the data leak by credit card firms in that they didn’t take caution in providing their private information. He made the first apology for his remark on the same day, when public anger over his comments flooded online forums.
Despite his repeated apologies, not only the public but also the political circles slammed Minister Hyun for his reckless remarks. Some lawmakers both from the opposition and the ruling party called for Hyun to resign over his comments and the mishandling of a massive data leak by financial firms.
In response to rising public concerns over a leak of their personal data, the financial authorities reiterated the leaked data was not distributed without a fact-finding process on what was wrong and measures to prevent a reoccurrence. The only follow-up measure so far has been to levy heavy punitive fines against the three involved credit card firms.
Public fears are still high that the stolen information may have fallen into the hands of financial scammers despite repeated assurances by the Financial Security Service.
Since the revelation of the leaks on Sunday, angry customers have flooded the offices of affected credit card firms and inundated their call centers and websites with complaints. An estimated 4 million people have canceled or applied for new credit cards.
By Seo Jee-yeon and news reports