SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s science ministry said Tuesday that it will launch a pilot program using roaming data provided by mobile carriers to monitor and further prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Under the program, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) will provide information about virus outbreaks in other countries to people using roaming service overseas.
Also, mobile carriers will deliver roaming data pertaining to whether their users had visited disease outbreak places to the KCDC, officials said.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will first start the pilot program with the country’s second largest major mobile carrier, KT Corp.
“More than 80 percent of KT clients use the roaming service while visiting overseas,” said Lee Jae-ho, a KT official. “Information of users such as name, gender, birthday, and the name of the disease will be kept for only a certain period of time, and will not be used for any other purpose,”
Two other carriers — SK Telecom Co. and LG Uplus Co.– will join the program sometime next year after establishing a related system, officials said.
The program comes amid mounting calls that a strengthened monitoring system is needed to prevent the spread of infections diseases. Zika cases have raised concerns of a widespread epidemic in South Korea just a year after an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).