South Korea's Rampant Spy-Cam Porn Problem Prompts Crackdown At Transportation Hubs

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After tens of thousands of women took to the streets this weekend, South Korea’s government announced a new plan to crack down on hidden cameras used to record people without their consent.

Inspecting a public bathroom stall for a hidden camera has become a common practice among women in South Korea, who fear their intimate moments will be surreptitiously recorded and shared online. The government has responded to this well-founded fear, now requiring dedicated teams at public transportation sites to monitor for these spy cams.

The South Korean government announced the measure on Sunday, just a day after an estimated 70,000 people protested the country’s spy-cam porn epidemic in what’s being characterised as the country’s largest women’s protest.

According to the new measure, transportation centres — such as airports and bus and train stations — have to create a team to inspect the area for spy cams, which includes public restrooms, according to The Korea Herald. Public bathrooms that have undergone this inspection routinely and “for a significant amount of time” will be identified as a “clean zone”. Failure to adhere to this new measure can result in a fine.

The country also plans to put up posters in around 1000 women’s and children’s rights organisations and 254 police stations to further educate people on the law. These posters will signal that it is illegal to both film someone without their consent as well as watch the distributed video online.

A 2018 study from the Korean Women Lawyers Association, cited by Korea Exposé, found that spy cams are most prevalent in subway stations, but are also located in buses, taxis and restrooms. Seoul-based journalist Raphael Rashid tweeted in June that women in South Korea will wear masks to hide their faces in public restrooms, where hidden cameras might be found inside the toilet or even the screw of a stall’s door latch.

A new report from BBC detailing the rise of spy-cam pornography, known in the country as “molka”, points out that 6465 spy cam cases were reported in South Korea last year. Of those, 5437 people were taken into custody and only 119 went to prison.

South Korea’s massive protests — about 22,000 women also rallied in the country in June — demonstrate not only women’s outrage over the spy cam epidemic, but their government’s failure to enforce meaningful measures to prevent and punish bad actors.

Sunday’s announcement marks a small milestone for women frustrated with officials’ lack of action, but it remains to be seen how rigorously the new measure will be enforced.

[The Korea Herald]

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