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Communications watchdog tightens personal data protection

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (PNA/Yonhap — South Korean companies will be banned from collecting and using resident registration numbers, key personal information, via the Internet starting this weekend, the communications watchdog said Friday.

Under the revised rules that go into effect on Saturday, companies will be given a six-month grace period to stop collecting resident registration numbers, which are used in most financial and administrative transactions online, according to the Korea Communications Commission.

The revised measures aim to bolster personal information protection online amid growing use of wireless devices and mobile services, the KCC said.

Companies should delete all data related to resident registration numbers within two years and replace existing resident registration numbers with online personal identification numbers called "iPIN" or cyber authentication certificates, it said.

The measures also demand companies that manage data of more than 1 million people or reap IT-related revenue over 10 billion won (US$ 9 million to make annual notifications on personal information usage.

Personal information of accounts that are dormant for more than 3 years should also be deleted or saved in a separate storage device, according to the watchdog.

The revised measures are expected to help resolve security issues that have been raised in several personal data leaks at major companies such as Hyundai Capital Services Inc.

The latest case involves KT Corp., the country's top fixed-line operator and No. 2 mobile carrier, in which the personal information of around 8.7 million mobile subscribers was compromised. The KCC is still investigating the case.(PNA/Yonhap hbc/jnc)

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