South Korea Will Conduct Daily Searches In Seoul’s Public Toilets To Counter ‘Spy Camera Porn’ Epidemic

Hidden camera porn has become a major menace in the Asian country.

South Korea has ordered daily searches of Seoul's public toilets.
Jean Chung / Getty Images

Hidden camera porn has become a major menace in the Asian country.

South Korea has ordered daily searches of its capital city’s public toilets to fight the growing menace of “spy camera porn,” according to BBC.

Seoul finds itself gripped in an epidemic that targeted more than 6,000 people last year, with more than 80 percent of those recorded being women. These cameras are placed in public toilets to record women relieving themselves, or undressing, with the videos finding their way to pop-up pornographic sites in South Korea. It is believed that the number of people whose privacy has been compromised is a much larger pool than what has been reported in the Asian country.

Earlier this year, thousands of women took to the streets in Seoul to protest the menace, carrying placards with messages like “my life is not your porn.”

Activists say that although this is a problem which is increasingly pronounced in South Korea’s capital city, other cities — or even countries — are not immune from it. In many cases, those recording these women privately turn out to be friends, and women are often shocked to find their nude videos online without their knowledge.

While monthly searches of Seoul’s public toilets have been carried out for some time, South Korean law enforcement believes that it will have to conduct daily searches if it has to catch the perpetrators. Even so, the task facing them is massive, with the people who install these cameras being extremely active. They are said to install and remove cameras within 15 minutes, often times leading police on wild-goose chases.

Last year alone, 5,400 people were arrested for recording videos in public toilets in Seoul, but only 2 percent were jailed for their crimes. To help law enforcement tackle the menace in South Korea, which is one of the most digitally connected countries in the world, with 90 percent of its population having access to the internet, citizens have tried to find other ways.

Park Soo-yeon founded the group Digital Sex Crime Out as part of a campaign to shut down one of the most notorious sites where most of these videos end up, called Soranet. The website has millions of users and thousands of videos of unsuspecting women make their way to the site without their knowledge. The videos found here are often recorded in public toilets, changing rooms, or even by friends of the victims. Several women have taken their own lives after finding their videos online.

“It is possible to bring down these videos but it is a real problem because it emerges again and again,” Park told BBC. “Digital sex crimes are not just a problem in Korea. There have been cases in Sweden and in the United States.”