The Korea Herald

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Supreme Court acquits man for listening to recording of wife's conversations

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : March 25, 2024 - 09:17

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The Supreme Court on Sunday upheld a previous ruling that acquitted a man on charges of violating the Protection of Communications Secrets Act, noting that the act did not apply in the case of this man, who secretly recorded his wife's conversation using a home camera and shared the contents of the recording with a third party.

In February 2020, a man installed a home camera with a recording function in the living room of the apartment he shared with his wife in Gyeongju, Gyeongbuk. The camera had a function that meant it would automatically start recording when movement was detected.

In May of that year, the man was indicted on charges of listening to and sharing a file recorded on the camera with his younger brother. The camera had recorded a conversation between the man's wife, his father, mother and younger brother.

The Protection of Communications Secrets Act stipulates that a person must not record or listen to conversations between other people that have not been made public and that information gleaned from such conversations cannot be disclosed or leaked to a third party.

The man went to trial but was found not guilty by a lower court and an appellate court. The Supreme Court also dismissed an appeal from prosecutors, saying the original trial judgment was correct.

The Supreme Court ruled, "'Listening' refers to the act of eavesdropping on the content of a conversation between other people in real-time," adding, "The act of playing and listening to a recording while the conversation is over (does not apply)."