On April 4, a Facebook user reported hidden camera crimes ‒ illicitly taken video clips of women that were uploaded on an illegal website for spy camera porn. The post went viral overnight with many shocked to see footage of 22 illegal, hidden cameras from the restrooms of airports, convenience stores, dental offices, and many other public facilities. Ewha students were especially horrified, as one of the screenshots included footage of a female victim in a restroom on Ewha University’s campus.
Jane Kim (Facebook user name), who reported the crimes on her Facebook site, stated that the following clips were found while monitoring illegal filming websites. Most videos were clips of females in bathroom cubicles taken by pre-installed cameras or even by camera holders who followed closely behind victims to secretly take pictures or videos underneath their skirts. What shocked females the most was that these illegal videos received more than half a million views. As soon as the post was uploaded, it received over 2,000 likes and 700 shares. Shortly after that, the post reached students via Everytime, an anonymous online community largely used by Ewha students. Many expressed horrified reactions and rage towards the video takers, but at the same time, students were worried about their safety and privacy.
“I was so shocked and concerned to be alerted that our school was not safe, even though it should be,” said Joo Yeon-woo, a sophomore from the School of Business. “I was even more worried when I heard that the technology these days makes the spy cameras so small, even indistinguishable by detecting machines. I hope our school will strengthen the security on campus toward outsiders.” “I even overheard that there was a male intruder who dressed up as a woman to go into our school’s dancing hall to install hidden cameras,” she said. “I hope the school checks there, too, rather than just certain other buildings.” The morning after the post was uploaded, the Central Operation Committee met up with the school’s General Affairs team and the Student Services team to discuss punishment for perpetrators and suggest institutional solutions. The school promised an investigation by the cyber police and up-to-date reports of the ongoing detection of any hidden cameras on campus. Later, at 2 p.m., police from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency came to inspect the Human Ecology Building and the Hak-gwan to see if any hidden cameras were installed in the bathrooms. The representative of the College of Liberal Arts and the university student council president accompanied the officers for the whole process. It was announced at 8 p.m. that no hidden cameras had been detected in those buildings. P r e v i o u s l y , f r o m 2 0 1 3 , investigations for hidden cameras planted on campus had been conducted by the school’s campus police team and the Ewha Zikimi, which are the student-run campus patrols.
No camera found and video identified on campus
The 34th Ewha Club Foundation pointed out that the problem lies in the structure of subcontractor under another subcontractor. The school contracted S1, the security service company currently at Ewha to detect hidden cameras. However, the company passed its work to the Ewha campus police, who are security officers from Tower PMC, a subcontractor of S1. Later in the afternoon, an official statement of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union of Ewha was also posted on Everytime, urging the school to recruit professionals in detecting hidden cameras. According to the statement, Ewha campus police were told to do the work of inspecting for hidden cameras starting in June of 2017. However, they were just given detectors without any manual or instructions on how to use the detectors and what to do if they find cameras or suspects. Even male campus police were told to go inside the women’s bathroom for the work. Although the work was hard, campus police proceeded in inspecting for hidden cameras for the security of the students but found that the task was impossible for only two officers to manage the whole campus and two others for the entire dormitory along with their regular duties. Also, in cases of accidents, the responsibility could be shifted to the untrained campus police workers.
The statement also criticized the school for not being cooperative in trying to solve the problem, while the Union suggested several solutions such as an MOU with the police. The Seoul Women and Family Foundation, which runs the Women Security Sheriff system for detecting hidden cameras, said that it was absurd for only four people to manage the whole campus and therefore proposed to inspect the entire campus twice a year if the school wants them to. Lastly, it emphasized that the school is responsible for providing a good environment for the workers on campus and keeping a secure environment for students. As the accuracy concerning the uploaded footage’s exact location remains unclear, the school reported the video to the police on the morning of April 6 and will seek advice from a professional lawyer in case Ewha’s name value was abused as just an attention getter source online. On the Student Council’s request that personnel be arranged, additional personnel if needed, who focus only on inspecting for hidden cameras on campus and restricting the entrance of outsiders into buildings on campus, the school responded that they will come up with the solution after discussion.