Daycare center will face punishment for deliberately removing surveillance footage

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Jul. 19, 2023 8:10PM GMT+9

South Korea’s National Assembly approved a bill on Tuesday that bans daycare centers from purposely tampering with surveillance footage installed in its buildings.

In a press release, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) stated that the legislation will close the loophole because there weren’t rules to punish those who deliberately ruin CCTV footage taken inside day care centers.

The law also states specific penalties, allowing law breakers to be sentenced to a maximum five years in prison or be given a fine of up to 50 million won (almost $40,000). According to an official of the MOHW, the law will be enacted as early as this year after deliberations from the Cabinet meeting.

The proposal touched off what at the time was a heated debate over the Child Care Act. South Korea amended the law to prevent child abuse in 2015, requiring day care centers to install surveillance cameras inside their buildings and store videos for more than 60 days. The law further included punishments for those who failed to take safety measures and damaged CCTV footage by losing, stealing, leaking, modifying, or ruining it as a result.

According to local news outlets last year, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a daycare owner who was accused of deliberately replacing a CCTV storage system to conceal video records was not guilty of violating any laws. The court came to the decision based on reasons which included the fact that there were no rules in the current law that allowed for the punishment of those who purposefully delete surveillance footage. This caused a stir of arguments and led to a legislative movement among South Korean lawmakers.

“This was a change that needed to be made,” said Kong Hae-jeong, the president of the Korea Child Abuse Prevention Association to The Readable. “However, problems remain such as how we could determine if a person’s actions are deliberate. It will be hard to find those who will testify that they deleted the files on purpose.”

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.