Phones

Police mull over online search of criminal suspects’ mobile phones

(Yonhap)
Written by Publishing Team

(Yonhap)

Police are pushing for the introduction of an online search of criminal suspects’ mobile phones and other digital devices, officials said Friday.

The National Office of Investigation at the Korean National Police Agency has recently announced a public bid for research services to review the legality of online search activities and its implementation plan, they said.

If the online search is allowed, police will be able to hack criminal suspects’ smartphones and computers, install a surveillance program and collect evidence of offenses in real time. It can also be seen as legal hacking by a state agency to access crime-related information not exposed to the outside world.

In January, relevant research commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission concluded that the state should be allowed to monitor the use of criminal suspects’ information technology systems and view and collect their stored contents through remote monitoring software and other means in order to eradicate digital sex crimes against children and adolescents.

But the envisioned hacking by a state agency has given rise to a controversy over possible infringement of fundamental rights, since it constitutes secret access to another person’s information technology systems.

Thus, the online search by police is likely to face several hurdles before being realized due to controversies during the process as well as the court’s strict warrant-issuing process, according to legal experts. (Yonhap)

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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