South Korean Identity Card System to be Rebuilt from Scratch

The BBC News website reports that the South Korean national identity card scheme is going to have to be completely rebuilt at the cost of billions of dollars.

Identity card numbers have been a prime target for hackers due to their use across a variety of sectors for accessing services.  It is estimated that the ID numbers and personal details of an estimated 80% of the country’s 50 million people have been stolen from banks and other targets.  Even the South Korean president has been a victim of data theft.

The rebuild may take up to a decade to complete.

Police Spy on Mail on Sunday Journalists Phone Records

The Mail on Sunday (MoS) reports about the Police using the Regulatory of Investigative Powers Act (RIPA) to secretly access MoS journalists phone records.

The records were accessed while they investigated claims from the disgraced former cabinet Minister Chris Huhne that the MoS was involved in a conspiracy against him.  Huhne was convicted of perverting the course of justice in a 2003 speeding case following a story in the MoS.

By accessing phone records, Police were able to identify the Journalist Andrew Alderson as the mail on Sunday’s source for the story, even though his identity was protected by the order of a Judge.  The identity of the source, along with details of phone calls between him and MoS News Editor David Dilllon, were then passed onto Chris Huhne’s defence lawyers by prosecutors as part of the process of  legal disclosure.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee responding to the revelations said:

‘It is deeply disturbing that the police have hacked into offices of a major UK newspaper. They have struck a serious blow against press freedom.’

Note: there is another recent Newsblog article about the Police secretly accessing the phone records of the Sun Political editor using RIPA.

Theresa May vows Tory government would introduce ‘snooper’s charter’

Alan Travis reports in the Guardian that Theresa May the Home Secretary has vowed that a future Conservative government will introduce into law the Communications Data Bill, which is often referred to as the Snooper’s Charter.

May criticised the Liberal Democrats for blocking the Communications Data Bill two years ago claiming that:

“If we do not act, we risk sleepwalking into a society in which crime can no longer [be] investigated and terrorists can plot their murderous schemes undisrupted.”

However, the Liberal Democrats rejected May’s claim that their opposition to the “Snooper’s Charter” was putting lives at risk, pointing out that the police can already access communications data when needed.

Met obtained phone records of Sun political editor without consent

Lisa O’Carroll reports in the Guardian that Police investigating the Plebgate saga obtained the telephone records of Tom Newton Dunn, the political editor of the Sun without his consent, despite laws which entitle journalists to keep their sources confidential.

The Sun confirmed that neither Newton Dunn nor the paper knew anything about the intervention of the police.

It appears that the Metropolitan Police used powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) which circumvents a different law under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) that requires police to go to a judge to get disclosure of journalistic material. The Metropolitan Police have refused to disclose how many other times they have used these powers to secretly access journalists phone records.

The incident raises concerns about the threat such activities present to journalistic privilege, confidentiality of sources and the protection of whistle-blowers.