Ever since adultery was decriminalized in Korea, people have had to become self-reliant in obtaining personal information about their spouse’s lover. Before, the police could simply ask the telecom company for information, and they would oblige. The situation is different when the request is made by a civilian.
Note: Adultery is no longer a crime, but you can still sue your spouse + his/her lover for pain & suffering. Hence why we don’t say, “Adultery is legal!” It is now just a civil matter (i.e., tort).
Recently here in Korea, the Incheon District Court imposed an administrative fine of 5 mil won on SK Telecom for their refusal to hand over such information. The plaintiff (i.e., husband) had asked for the court’s help in finding out the exact identity of the mystery defendant, and the court obliged by ordering SK Telecom to reveal some basic information about the person.
SK Telecom refused citing privacy. The court disagreed saying Article 18 of the PERSONAL INFORMATION PROTECTION ACT (개인정보보호법) obligates SK to hand over such information (under these circumstances). Especially since the information requested was minimal/limited (e.g., name, resident registration number, and address). The court added that SK had an obligation to confirm/deny whether the number was indeed an SK number.
It remains to be seen whether the decision will prompt telecom companies to change their stance. I personally welcome this decision because sometimes there’s no other way. (I’ve seen people impersonate delivery men. There’s gotta be a better way.)
Thanks for reading!