Recently, the hidden camera crime rate has been strikingly increasing. We live in a time where the basic human rights of individuals are being encroached upon by hidden camera crimes that occur frequently, not only in public places but also in every part of our daily lives. According to a survey conducted at subway stations for about two months in 2017, the number of those who furtively shoot cameras and upload the pictures on pornographic web-sites increased by 28 percent in 2017 from the same period last year. These hidden camera crimes are a serious violation of human rights and, therefore, are considered an infamous crime. In particular, many victims can suffer from mental and physical pain as the hidden camera images and videos are quite often leaked out on the Internet and social networking sites. In addition, there are many victims who are not aware that their images and videos have been spread on the Internet. As yet, there is no easy and effective solution, and the growing number of victims cannot but continue to suffer from it.
We can see these hidden camera crimes occurring in many areas in recent years, regardless of the type of employment or age of the perpetrator. Even famous entertainers and politicians are not exceptions in the crimes. With such cyber-criminals drawing lots of attention as one of the new social problems, the government claims to have taken measures to punish them while protecting the victims. The government revised Article 14 of the Special Act on the Punishment of Sexual Violence and Crime to strengthen the degree of punishment for such foul sexual crimes as taking or distributing spy cam materials. According to Article 14 of the Special Act, people who distribute and sell secretly shot video will be sentenced to less than five years in prison or fined 10 million won. In addition, people who distribute, sell, lease, provide, or perform the filming against the will of the victim are punished. Still, we can find hidden images and videos on many Internet sites and social networks. It can spread rapidly to an unspecified majority, causing irrevocable, serious damages. It is a crux that we cannot totally and safely remove images and videos that have already been distributed to cyber space. Therefore, the government needs to recognize the seriousness of the increasing number of potential victims and their subsequent suffering and strengthen the punishment with zero tolerance.
Deplorably, not only the stealthily taken photos and videos, but also the so-called ‘modified cameras’ are being sold in popular on-line shopping sites and in some off-line shops without any restrictions. Moreover, there are various built-in spy cam items like supplementary phone battery, pen, etc., easily purchasable and accessible. Tiny cameras and built-in cameras are actually doing the criminal’s job in public spaces, such as the toilets in subway stations. As for the issue of the ‘modified camera’, unfortunately, at present, we don’t have a legitimate way of restricting it by the mere concern that it might be misused as a hidden cam. However, we can easily predict that the sales of modified cameras can cause a lot of trouble. Thus, we need to tighten the regulations on modified cameras including its manufacture, import, sale, distribution, and track their distribution history.
Despite repeated national petitions to stop these crimes, it continues to be an ongoing issue that requires clear punishment and increased measures to prevent them. In order to eradicate the hidden cam crimes, we also need to make the public fully realize that this type of crime would bring psychologically and physically devastating consequences to numerous potential victims that might even include ourselves and our beloveds. And, since it is difficult to prevent such crimes with governmental policy alone, we need to keep an eye on the sneaky crimes all the time with our all efforts as well as to never engage or take part in this type of crime in the first place.