S. KOREAN FIRM FIGHTS

Santa Cruise tries to re­move sex videos of women posted on­line by dis­grun­tled part­ners

New Straits Times - - World -

SEOUL

TONY Kim has been paid to watch porn for the last six years, spend­ing his days star­ing at­ten­tively at graphic videos of naked women and sex­ual li­aisons.

He is part of an anti “re­venge porn” force here tasked with find­ing pri­vate sex­ual im­ages posted on­line with­out per­mis­sion, and re­mov­ing them.

The 27-year-old first ap­plied for the role at Santa Cruise out of “cu­rios­ity”, he said.

“But I soon started to feel very un­com­fort­able, hav­ing to watch videos like this all day long, day in and day out.

“Now I’m used to this and feel noth­ing. It is just a job now.”

The bleak busi­ness is part of the so-called “dig­i­tal laun­dry” in­dus­try thriv­ing in South Korea.

Kim Ho-jin set up Santa Cruise in 2008, ini­tially spe­cial­is­ing in re­mov­ing ma­li­cious on­line ru­mours or in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion for lo­cal firms and celebri­ties.

But in re­cent years, a new type of client has emerged — women whose pri­vate sex videos and pho­to­graphs were posted on­line with­out per­mis­sion by dis­grun­tled ex-boyfriends, ex-hus­bands or ma­li­cious ac­quain­tances.

So-called “re­venge porn” is a global phe­nom­e­non, prompt­ing so­cial me­dia giants such as Face­book to de­ploy counter mea­sures.

In South Korea, 7,325 re­quests to have in­ti­mate videos re­moved from the In­ter­net were made last year, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures — a seven­fold in­crease in four years.

This in­cludes hid­den cam­era footage of women in chang­ing rooms or pub­lic toi­lets.

Kim ex­plained: “Most of­fend­ers are teenage boys or men in their 20s who want to see pretty, pop­u­lar girls out of their reach be­ing abused and hu­mil­i­ated on­line.”

Around 140 women sign up for Santa Cruise’s ser­vices each month, ac­cord­ing to Kim. mean­ing the adult pen­guins had to travel fur­ther to find food, with the chicks dy­ing as they waited.

Yan Rop­ert-Coud­ert, se­nior pen­guin sci­en­tist at Du­mont D’Urville re­search sta­tion, ad­ja­cent to the colony, said the re­gion was im­pacted by en­vi­ron­men­tal changes linked to the breakup of the Mertz glacier.

Sur­viv­ing mostly on a diet of

Some have found footage of them­selves — of­ten via a male ac­quain­tance send­ing them a link ask­ing “Is that you?” while oth­ers are sim­ply con­cerned that such im­ages may have been shared.

Once Santa Cruise finds a video, the firm con­tacts the web­site op­er­a­tor — some­times a gam­bling or so­cial me­dia site rather than a pornog­ra­phy shar­ing hub — to have it taken down, warn­ing krill, Adelie pen­guins have been gen­er­ally far­ing well in East Antarc­tica. But four years ago, the same colony, which num­bered 20,196 pairs at the time, failed to pro­duce a sin­gle chick.

Heavy sea ice, com­bined with warm weather and rain, fol­lowed by a rapid tem­per­a­ture drop, had re­sulted in the birds be­com­ing sat­u­rated and freez­ing to death. AFP of vi­o­la­tion of pri­vacy laws.

Many com­ply quickly, but if they do not, or are un­reach­able, Santa Cruise will ask Seoul’s In­ter­net reg­u­la­tor to block ac­cess to the con­tent, which can take weeks.

“No mat­ter how many times we take it down, it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to delete such videos com­pletely from the In­ter­net.”

The ser­vice costs two mil­lion won (RM7,500) a month, al­most two-thirds of the coun­try’s av­er­age wage, prices that Kim de­fends on cost grounds, say­ing the mon­i­tor­ing ef­fort goes on around the clock. But he fears the worst when clients run­ning out of funds drop out of con­tact.

“When I’ve called them, some­times their par­ents an­swered the phone, say­ing their daugh­ter is dead.” AFP

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