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(LEAD) Gov't to 'stictly' hold those accountable for massive data leak: minister

2014/01/22 10:25

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- The government will "strictly" hold accountable those involved in the recent massive leak of personal information from financial institutions, the finance minister said Wednesday.

"I feel very regretful that this kind of massive personal information leak has occurred, and I am also sorry for the people," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said at a meeting with other economy-related policymakers.

"We will get to the bottom of this to figure out who is responsible and strictly hold accountable anyone involved in this incident."

   The country is still in shock after private information of some 20 million clients was stolen from local banks and credit card firms. The biggest fear has been that the information, which includes bank account and credit card numbers, addresses and personal credit records, may be misused for financial scams.

Angry customers were rushing to the banks and credit card offices to cancel or get new cards, and top executives of financial firms tendered their resignations on Monday to take responsibility for the leak.

Hyun said that the investigation by the prosecution and financial watchdogs found no confirmed damage from the leak but assured that any damage or losses will be fully compensated. He added that the government will also accelerate the process for card cancellation and reissuance for better customer convenience.

As for countermeasures that the government plans to unveil later in the day, Hyun told reporters after the meeting that they will include imposing punitive penalties on card companies for the personal information leak.

"We will unveil the measures that will include punitive penalties and others on how to regulate card companies," Hyun said.

He noted that even if the top executives of card companies stepped down in the wake of the revelation, it does not guarantee that such an incident would not happen again. He also said that the government needs to do its part to prevent its recurrence with such tough regulations.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

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