|A police campaign discouraging spy cam installation. Photo provided by Busan Metropolitan Police Agency.
After the July 28 broadcast of SBS’s popular investigative probe program, Unanswered Questions, social interest in Korea’s spy camera has skyrocketed.
Spy camera are at the heart of domestically made pornography, and shots taken in public toilets, motels, and other places have circulated the internet. The recent broadcast of Unanswered Questions focused on exposing the illegal market structure of the spy cam porn industry, outlining in detail the mechanism of footage circulation. Individual uploaders often hold up to three terabytes of footage and make 30 million Korean Won from trading with companies.
In 2015, Sora-net, Korea’s biggest pornography-based portal website that, for 17 years had, over 1.2 million users, was accused of manipulating targeted sexual assaults. Even though they had complicated the website algorithm by installing a domestic and international server, an investigative team was able to close down the website within half a year. However, this was only the start of the string of spy cam crimes to come in the forcoming years.
“Producers often lure woman solely for the purpose of creating illegal footage,” explained Seo Jung-hoon, the producer of Unanswered Questions. “Those who film and circulate filmed footage are called ‘heavy uploaders.’ Interestingly, footage obtained like so is sold on the same legal website as certified properly licensed Japanese pornography. In fact, the circulating company and heavy uploaders often collaborate doing business together. Collusion techniques are easily visible as they also own the filtering company, which makes its profit from filtering content,” he continued.
Unanswered Questions has dealt with the illegal nature of the spy cam crime; however, it was not the first to focus on the phenomena. Several TV series and films have attempted to interpret the issue in its cultural aspects, including Fighter Choi Gang-soon. What the program truly heightened, as many believe, is the biased investigation of spy cam perpetrators.
Following the broadcast of Unanswered Questions, the Hongik University Model Incident proved an example to how quickly police investigation progressed once the victim-perpetrator had been flipped. In Hong-ik University’s Department of Painting class, a male nude model’s picture was uploaded online by a female. While police statistics show that 98 percent of all reported spy cam crimes are initiated and propagated by men, those which receive the most social attention and are heavily punished are the ones undertaken by women.
“How is it that unlike male perpetrators the female ones are sentenced 10 months with such speed?” questioned a student who participated in the protest denouncing the biased spy cam investigation, which was held in Hye-hwa.
Approximately 17,000 people participated in three separate demonstrations held near Hye-hwa station, confronting the police force.
“I am relieved that the gravity of the spy cam crime is finally receiving the social attention that it deserves, thanks to media attention. However, several hurdles are yet to be overcome in totally eradicating the issue,” she maintained.
While the ubiquitous nature of the spy cam crime has been thoroughly exposed, the problem of biased investigation presents yet another added dimension to diminishing the spy cam industry.
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