Seven businesspeople have been detained on charges of illegally releasing the personal information of more than 11 million people, selling some of the data to insurance companies for profit, police said Monday.
The Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency said they apprehended two people who operate an Internet shopping mall on suspicion of sharing the private information of 11.75 million clients and members with five telemarketers who later sold some of the information to insurance companies for some 1.3 billion won ($1.14 million).
The 39-year-old online shop owner, whose name was withheld, is suspected of collecting private information such as resident registration numbers, phone numbers and addresses through an online event sponsored by insurance companies, according to the police. The suspect allegedly handed confidential information over to telemarketing companies without permission from the individuals concerned.
A 40-year-old telemarketer, whose name was also withheld, sold information on 450,000 people to two insurance companies, according to a police officer. The insurers bought each individual's personal information for between 2,750 and 2,970 won.
"The investigation has exposed the relationship that personal information is often brokered to insurance companies through telemarketers," the police officer said. "Providing personal data through joining Web sites or sweepstakes calls for a cautious approach."
As part of efforts to strengthen the protection of personal information and prevent its abuse, the government on Friday unveiled a set of new measures to ban the collection of resident registration numbers except in emergency situations, starting later this year. (Yonhap)