S. Korea seeks ways to disable 'silent camera' apps

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 18 2012 05:42 PM | Updated as of Apr 19 2012 01:45 AM

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea is seeking ways to disable smartphone apps that allow users to silently snap photos in a bid to prevent Peeping Toms from secretly photographing women, an official said Wednesday.

Discussions are underway between authorities and handset makers, an official of the Korea Communications Commission told AFP.

"We have recently started discussions with firms like Samsung, LG, Google and Apple regarding whether it's technically possible to disable those apps on their devices," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The move comes amid privacy concerns after a series of crimes involving men secretly taking photos of women.

While there is already a regulation in place making it compulsory for mobile phones to make a sound when a photo is taken there is no such rule for app developers, meaning there are dozens of apps that provide a mute switch.

In June a man in his 30s was arrested in the southeastern city of Gimhae for secretly taking about 500 pictures under women's skirts by using a "silent camera" app.

South Korea has nearly 25 million smartphone users in a total population of almost 50 million.

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