Controversy arose as RM of the group BTS was again a victim of a personal information leak.
On March 1st, it was discovered that a KORAIL employee of the Korea Railroad Corporation had accessed RM’s train ticket issuance information without permission and reported it to others.
According to Korail, employee A has been known to have read personal information such as RM’s ticket information, address, and mobile phone number 18 times since 2019. Mr. A worked in the department that developed and operated the reservation release system, and was known to have said things like “I checked RM’s reservation history and saw the real thing” and “A friend told me to buy a seat nearby”.
In response, KORAIL received an internal tip that there was an employee who unauthorizedly inquired into the personal information of famous celebrities, and initiated its own audit to uncover the fact. Mr. A is undergoing disciplinary procedures after being removed from his position and suspended.
In this regard, RM did not reveal any particular position, but indirectly showed his uncomfortable feeling by posting an emoticon saying “^^;;” on his personal SNS account.
RM’s personal information has been exposed before. In January, several conversations with the head monk at a temple RM visited for a temple stay were leaked to the media and articles poured in. In response, RM expressed his displeasure on social media, saying, “Next time, I will visit another temple quietly.”
The reason why the personal information leakage problem is emerging one after another is that as much as BTS is loved worldwide, there is great interest in their personal activities. It seems that people do not hesitate to leak and use their personal information as a way to gain personal fandom or unfair economic gain.
The case of celebrities suffering damage due to personal information leakage is a problem that has been continuously raised. In 2020, an employee at a Vietnamese airport leaked passport photos of EXO members Chanyeol and Sehun, causing controversy. In the case of TWICE, members’ passport information and mobile phone numbers were circulated online, and member Nayeon’s foreign stalker found out their flight information and chased the plane, and approached them, causing shock.
Just because a celebrity has a public job doesn’t mean that all of the time they enjoy privately has to be disclosed. In particular, personal information is a sensitive part and can be misused for crimes, so even fandom cannot be forgiven. The term ‘right to know’ does not work. The act of reporting in detail the arrival and departure flights of celebrities or their schedules for a scoop should also be refrained from.
As global interest in K-pop continues to grow, it seems necessary to think about the concept of artists’ privacy and a system that can protect it.