South Korea’s Spy Cam Porn Epidemic

Rejani King
Staff Writer

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PC: Pixabay

In Seoul, South Korea, hidden cameras are becoming an epidemic in public bathroom stalls. 80 percent of reported victims are women, though the spy cams are intended to record men and women undressing or using the bathroom. This is a huge invasion of privacy. The people who are setting up hidden cameras in public bathroom stalls are primarily men.

This is a major problem, not only because it’s becoming the “norm” for South Korea, but because it is a massive invasion of privacy. According to NPR, police in South Korea have identified more than 26,000 victims of videos that were captured on these spy cameras from 2012 to 2016. However, this number, in reality, is a lot higher.

Many women in South Korea have started making efforts to protect themselves in these spaces. These women started making kits for themselves.  The kit includes an ice pick to smash a camera’s peephole lens, and stickers that can be used to cover the holes in the bathroom stalls.

As a woman, I think cameras used by men to record women in public bathrooms for their own pleasure are incredibly disturbing. Women in South Korea can’t use the bathroom without fear that someone is recording them. Chung Soo-Young, a woman interviewed by NPR, says she started making the protective kits last winter when she was recorded by a man who was in the stall next to her in the bathroom, and began to trace the sites where the videos were being uploaded to in Seoul.

Initially, when researching this epidemic, I only saw that cameras were being set up in public bathrooms. However, that’s not entirely the case. According to BBC, the cameras are being set up in public changing rooms of clothing stores, gyms and swimming pools to be uploaded onto popular pornography sites. This epidemic is not just happening in one space but multiple. Many aren’t feeling safe because of it.

Also according to NPR, in early August, tens of thousands of women protested in Seoul against the hidden cameras. This was the largest rally to ever happen in Seoul. Due to these protests, many women are experiencing even more disturbing attacks. One woman was followed back to her home by a man as he screamed in her face, asking her why she was protesting. Others have been threatened by men who livestreamed the protest on the internet. People have even threatened to throw acid on these women. It’s also been mentally and psychologically draining for the victims.

According to The Telegraph, “Many women have been forced into extreme circumstances such as taking their own lives because of the spycam epidemic.” These women are experiencing emotional trauma. Government officials need to acknowledge that everyday women and men feel unsafe while doing everyday activities, such as using public bathrooms or changing rooms.

These women should be listened to before it gets to the point of a rally. There should be legal action taken towards those who film people in public bathrooms and changing rooms and upload them to pornographic sites. As gathered from research, 98 percent of perpetrators are men. However, when a woman was accused of the same crime, she was dealt with harshly in comparison to the men who committed the same crime.

Overall, I think that this issue is incredibly disturbing. There needs to be legal action taken for every single one of the people who are committing these crimes. Citizens in Seoul cannot go to public bathrooms or changing rooms without wondering if there is someone filming them and uploading it to a pornographic site.

According to NPR, “Earlier this month, the Seoul city government said it would add 8,000 workers to search public bathrooms on a daily basis, but critics say that the real solution is fairly simple–shut down the websites and servers used to spread such material and stiffen jail terms for the perpetrators.” Shutting down the sites and taking more legal action is needed because this should not be considered the “norm.” It’s disgusting and people have the right to their privacy, especially in public spaces.



Categories: Opinions

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