SUWON, May 14 (Korea Bizwire) — A number of cases have arisen recently in which law enforcement agencies have asked social media websites headquartered overseas to assist with their investigations.
The purpose of these types of requests is typically to uncover the identity of a social media user posting controversial materials online.
As in this case and others, cooperation leads to the swiftest and most accurate results and transnational investigations have become indispensable.
Last Wednesday, an anonymous caller reported an illegal video that was taken of a girls’ dorm in a high school in the northern region of Gyeonggi Province. Several secretly filmed videos of the dorm were posted on the social media site Tumblr.
The captured photos of the clips were known to have spread throughout the Internet.
In order to track down the account owner who posted the photos, the police issued a search warrant which was translated into English and sent to Tumblr headquarters in the United States.
The modus operandi for executing a search warrant is different overseas, however.
Unlike the mandatory investigation that is carried out domestically, a search warrant is regarded more like a “memorandum of cooperation” as Korea’s jurisdiction is limited outside of the country.
Seeking the identity of the person behind the post is the first step in solving the case. However, it’s unclear whether Tumblr will be receptive to the recent request made by Korean police.
If the user’s freedom of expression is taken into account, cooperation may not be possible. But considering the fact that the victims are female youth, some experts say that the American company may be willing to help.
Whether or not an overseas social media company cooperates with domestic criminal investigation is considered on a case-by-case basis. Last month, a candidate for a gubernatorial position filed a complaint accusing a certain Twitter user of posting malicious comments about the candidate and President Moon Jae-in.
The police sent a search warrant to Twitter’s headquarters in the U.S., but the request for information was rebuffed.
According to Twitter, the company “could not provide information on the user due to the nature of the crime,” meaning that the offense was not serious enough to warrant divulging confidential user data.
The Supreme Court judged that the lower courts’ decision was correct.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)