South Korea is in the grip of a spy camera epidemic

While more than 5,400 people were arrested for spy camera related crimes last year, fewer than 2% of those held were jailed.

By Redacción MNN Monday, September 3, 2018 comments

Secret cameras in toilets and changing rooms are a serious problem in South Korea – with more than 6,000 cases of “spy cam porn” reported last year.

The videos are often uploaded online without the knowledge of the victims.

Earlier this year, tens of thousands of women protested against hidden cameras, carrying signs with messages like, “my life is not your porn”.

About 80% of the victims of spy camera porn are women.

Seoul’s public toilets are currently only inspected for hidden cameras about once a month, Yonhap news agency reports.  Now restroom staff will be required to check public toilets for spy cameras daily.

Law enforcement officials say that it is difficult to catch perpetrators – especially as they can install cameras, and take them down again in a matter of minutes.

While more than 5,400 people were arrested for spy camera related crimes last year, fewer than 2% of those held were jailed.

Hidden cameras capture women – and sometimes men – undressing, going to the toilet, or even in changing rooms in clothing stores, gyms and swimming pools. The videos are posted online on pop-up pornography sites.

Activists in Seoul now warn that unless more is done to prevent it, this type of crime is likely to spread to other countries and will prove difficult to stop.

Not just a Korean problem

South Korea is among the most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries in the world. It leads the world in smart phone ownership – nearly 90% of adults have one and 93% have access to the internet.

Park Soo-yeon founded the group Digital Sex Crime Out under the name Ha Yena in 2015 as part of a campaign to bring down one of the most notorious websites, called Soranet.

It had more than a million users and hosted thousands of videos taken and shared without the knowledge or consent of the women featured. Many of the website’s spy cam videos were taken secretly in toilets and store changing rooms, or posted by ex-partners out for revenge.

Some of the women who appeared in the videos took their own lives.

“Digital sex crimes are not just a problem in Korea. There have been cases in Sweden and in the United States. But South Korea is so advanced technologically, with the fastest and most accessible internet in the world.

“That means these online crimes against women have become a big issue here first. It will not be long before this becomes a big problem in other countries. So we need to work together to solve the issue internationally.”