Articles

Greater respect for privacy deters leaks of personal information

The cause of recent massive personal information leakage involving card companies in Korea is not only in a poor risk management system. Korea needs to look at the deeper source of this long-standing problem of information leakage which continues to resurface.

A business culture that demands excessive amounts of personal information from those who apply for bank accounts or credit cards represents a violation of the privacy rights of consumers.

As the most widely respected human rights document in history, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 12) states that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence. It says everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

The right of privacy originates in the view that ordinary human beings are endowed with dignity that demands the recognition and protection of certain fundamental rights such as privacy. Those rights are not a privilege given by the government or the business community. They are important to empower ordinary people to protect themselves and their affairs from those in authority.

In the digital age, the right to privacy is being eroded because of large, powerful institutional actors that can build and manipulate massive databases. Some governments and corporations are defining the operative legal standards in this area in a way that serves their interests and often deprives consumers and the public of their right to privacy.

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