SEOUL, April 6 (Korea Bizwire) – The Google Maps’ feature “Your Timeline” was used to track down the location of one of the key figures in ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s corruption case, the investigative team led by special prosecutor Park Young-soo revealed during a court hearing yesterday.
The case of Kim Yong-jae, a plastic surgeon who has been charged with making secret visits to the presidential office and performing illegal cosmetic procedures, was heard at Seoul Central District Court yesterday.
Having conceded he made the alleged visits to Cheong Wa Dae, also known as the Blue House, Kim now faces additional charges for lying under oath during a hearing held by the National Assembly last year.
“After looking at ways to find evidence to Kim’s confession about his visits to the presidential office, we found a Google Map’s feature called ‘Your Timeline,’ the prosecution’s special investigation team said yesterday.
With a user’s agreement, Google Maps’ location history records the whereabouts of its users, including a timeline that shows places and when they were visited, which can still be checked after years.
Using data uploaded from the mobile phone of Kim’s wife Park Chae-yoon, the special investigation team was able to trace 17 visits to the presidential office by Park.
Previously, Kim confessed he was accompanied by his wife during his secret visits to the Blue House.
The information gathered from Google Maps showed no sign of a visit from Kim on April 16, 2014, which goes against the popular accusation that former President Park was undergoing a cosmetic procedure on the day of the Sewol ferry disaster.
As more social network and information services provide a variety of features based on personal information and location, the role of Google Maps in Kim’s case sets a precedent for how advanced information technology such as location-based services can now be used by prosecutors handling criminal cases.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)