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Published : 2011-08-05 19:06
Updated : 2011-08-05 19:06

Two users file for compensation as more seek class action


SK Communications’ legal woes are expected to deepen as more people are seeking compensation from the company for allowing the leaking personal information it gathered from members of Cyworld.com and Nate.com.

The move, if it becomes a nationwide campaign resembling the collective currently pursuing a class action lawsuit against Apple for tracking location information, may yield a string of costly lawsuits for the company in a country with virtually no precedent in class action suits.

This week, two lawsuits were filed against SK Communications, with the latest by a lawyer who requested 3 million won ($2,811) in compensation.

A 40-year-old lawyer who is a member of Nate.com said he filed the lawsuit because SK Communications had failed to properly manage his personal information, causing him to suffer mental anguish.

He also cited concerns about further problems that may arise in future, such as becoming a victim of voice phishing and spam mail as he does not know where his personal information may have been leaked.

He stressed that it was important for consumers to seek compensation to teach companies that they must properly manage information they have obtained.

SK Communications previously demanded national identity numbers among the list of personal information it requested before endowing membership.

The company faced fierce public backlash last week when it admitted that the personal information of up to 35 million users of its Cyworld.com and Nate.com website users had been leaked. This means about 70 percent of the Korean population was exposed.

The first lawsuit against SK Communications was filed on Aug. 1 when a 25-year-old member of Cyworld and Nate requested 1 million won in compensation for breaching his privacy.

Taking a cue, online forums are now sprouting up across the nation, with many users seeking assistance for how they may cooperate to file a class action suit against SK Communications.

One drawback for now is that the courts are having a hard time finding judges who are not also victims of the SK Communications information leak case in order to ensure impartiality in the ruling.

Meanwhile, the police who are investigating the leak believe that suspects used software maker ESTsoft’s servers to distribute viruses to freeze the PCs connected to the data networks of SK Communications to steal the personal information.

The PCs seem to have been exposed to the virus as company employees or others close to the matter were updating Al Tools ― a set of software ranging from compressing and picture viewing to security and password management. ESTsoft has apologized for the inconvenience its software may have caused and said it was cooperating with the authorities who recently raided the company’s offices.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

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