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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Spy Cameras live stream hundreds of motel guests

    By Kelly Quach

    Staff Writer

      On March 20, South Korean police discovered that approximately 1,600 women were filmed and live streamed for paying online customers while staying in local motels.

     Two men have been arrested for violating sexual assault law and distributing obscene material. One of the suspects installed the cameras after entering the motel as a guest. Authorities say the other helped run the website, which has been recently shut down. According to police, the two accomplices helped fund the live-streaming site. Since then, another pair has also been arrested and released for being accomplices.

      The scandal covers 10 cities, 42 rooms, and 30 budget hotels.

      There is no indication that the motels’ representatives were complicit in the scheme. Private footage of motel guests were first live streamed in November 2018 and taken down in March. Over the past four months, about 7 million won ($6,200) were made through the live streams..

      The Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency discovered cameras hidden inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets, and hair dryer holders. The 1-millimeter lens cameras were allegedly purchased overseas.

      Before the website became shuttered permanently, there were over 4,000 daily members and 94 of those who would pay a $44.95 monthly fee for the ability to replay live streams.

      This is not the first problem South Korea has had with spy cameras.

      Last July, thousands of women marched to protest on the streets of Seoul against invasion of privacy. As a response, Seoul funded a group of female inspectors to conduct regular inspection of the city’s public toilets in search of spy cameras.

      Lee Ji-soo, a computer specialist who helps women clear the web of images taken without their consent, stated to CNN, “The most common things that the clients are saying — and they are quite heartbreaking — are ‘I want to die” or ‘I cannot leave my house.’ […] The victims of spy cam or illegally taken videos say that when they encounter people on the street, they feel like they would be recognized.”

      In 2017, more than 6,400 cases of illegal filming were reported to police, compared to the 2,400 cases in 2012.                                          

      “There was a similar case in the past where illegal cameras were [secretly installed] and were consistently and secretly watched, but this is the first time the police caught  the videos being broadcasted live on the internet,” stated the National Police Agency to CNN.

      Last November, a law was amended to toughen penalties for illegal filming and distribution of images without consent. Punishments include up to five year in jail or fines up to 30 million won ($26,467).

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    Spy Cameras live stream hundreds of motel guests