The fact that “Squid Game” reveals the real user’s phone number is causing a stir in public opinion these days.
Currently, Netflix’s original drama “Squid Game” has been embroiled in a controversy over exposing a mobile phone number. This is because this 8-digit-number written on the business card appearing in the drama belongs to a real user.
According to a source in the entertainment industry on September 25, many people have been calling with 010 attached to the 8-digit number exposed in the drama. In an interview with the media, the victim, whose number was exposed, expressed that he had used this number for more than 10 years and is having a hard time because he keeps receiving more than 4,000 calls every day.
The victim claimed that it’s not easy for him to change the number because the exposed number is his business mobile phone number. Amid this uncomfortable situation, the production company reportedly offered 1 million won as compensation for the damages and said, “There’s nothing we can do about this case of number exposure. We think the only solution is your changing the phone number because this part was made with no special intention.”
Prank calls keep on adding up, “I’ll participate in the Squid Game”… What’s the legal punishment for these people?
A mobile phone number is a personal information that can identify a person. In the case of phone number exposure, the third party who uses this personal information is like to have violated the Personal Information Protection Act.
The problem is that we know who the victims are, but it is unclear who is responsible for this incident. The drama’s production company is Cyron Pictures, but the distribution company is Netflix. As problems keep on arising, many people believe that both the production company and the distributor should take responsibility to deal with the situation.
However, it is also unclear whether they will be punished for violating the Personal Information Protection Act. The personal Information Protection Act imposes various obligations and responsibilities on personal information controllers who collect and use personal information. However, a legal official explained that it is ambiguous whether the drama’s filming staff, the production company and the distribution company can also be called personal information controllers. Therefore, it is difficult to say that the victim’s phone number was maliciously exposed.
It is also not easy to punish those who text or call the exposed phone number.
The Information and Communication Network Act doesn’t mention any punishment for “text terorism” to prevent repetitive sending of text or calls that cause the victims fear and anxiety. However, in this case, texting and calls are subject to repeated actions by a person. Anyone who repeatedly contacts a number can be punished, but it cannot be applied to an unspecified majority.
What about phone numbers in other movies and dramas?
It is common for the use of mobile phone numbers in movies. However, the same thing as this Squid Game incident does not happen regularly. It is because temporary numbers and safety devices used by people for filming purposes are usually provided.
In this case, the movie producers will use the Film Screen Exposure Service provided by The Korean Film Council. This system was established in 2011 and is said to have started with the idea of director Choi Ik Hwan, who directed “Voice”.
However, Squid Game is not classified as a Korean movie because they are premiered on Netflix. It is unclear whether the requirement to have a number for screen exposure would have been accepted even by the Korean Film Council.
Due to this incident, many people have criticized the lack of regulations and support measures for online video services (OTT). They argued that it is urgent to prepare a system as the environment for content transmission and viewing has changed a lot.
A legal official said, “It is difficult to expect a legal lawsuit as a practical compensation.”
Squid Game is receiving explosive responses, and its popularity is rising significantly. Recently, it ranked 1st in ratings in 14 countries, including Korea and the U.S. The damages are expected to continue as the production company hinted, “There’s nothing we can do about this case.” They stated that there is no suitable solution other than changing the mobile phone number.
However, controversy is also expected to continue over whether the amount of 1 million won for damage compensation is appropriate for changing the business phone number that has been used for more than a decade. Moreover, it was the third party’s mistake, but they could still generate huge profits.
A legal official advised, “It seems that an agreement or civil lawsuit must be carried out to relieve damage. However, even if the lawsuit is filed, it will cause difficulty for the production team to make profits from the movie. Therefore, it is better to go through the agreement process.”
In addition, it is said that they can use the personal information dispute settlement system operated by the Personal Information Protection Commission. If the victim applies for the mediation through their website, he can receive a mediation plan from experts. The advantage is that the procedure is more simple than the lawsuit. Moreover, the victim can also report personal information infringement and receive counseling through the Personal Information Commission.