By Lim Ho-san
One of my clients is a software development start-up that is jumping on the bandwagon of the deep learning Smart Factory system. In the course of developing an automatic system to analyze the progress of shipbuilding for a leading Korean shipbuilder, a system that applies deep-learning mechanisms, the company designed an analysis methodology where the on-site shipbuilding processes are recorded to ensure the system “learns” the steps of each block positioning itself at the desired spot.
An unexpected consequence of this for the company was a labor backlash sparked by the video recording of the premises. The labor union was seriously concerned about surveillance of employees. The analysis methodology ended up being scrapped.
The right to use and protect such “personal video information” matters not only in the case of unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as drones) and autonomous vehicles, but also in collection of visual data to enable deep learning for a smart factory system.
With a bill for the proposed Personal Video Information Protection Act still pending in the relevant committee of the National Congress, digital images of individuals are hardly protected by law, save Article 25 of the Personal Information Protection Act and Articles 22 through 26 of the Enforcement Decree of the same act.
The aforementioned proposed act intends to govern, in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the protection of personal information in the processing of video information, the major points of which are as follows:
The proposed act intends to govern not only conventional “fixed” video information processing devices (such as CCTV cameras), but also mobile devices and newly invented video information processing devices.
It will also set forth the qualification criteria for authorized video information processors and standards of installation and operation of such devices. The right to request deletion of specific video information by any concerned person will also be protected. The proposed act will departmentalize protection criteria according to the various features of devices.
The proposed act faces criticism from human rights activists and others for establishing in law an employer’s right to observe employees and for giving the Ministry of Public Administration and Security too much authority to record and observe ordinary citizens going about their business.
Law should follow technology, and the area of video information is no exception. The right to use and protect such personal data will find its own equilibrium at the end of this controversy, overcoming the legal rigidity that always follows technological advancement.
Lim Ho-san is an associate attorney at HMP Law and a member of the Tech & Comms practice group.