The NIS, whose motto is "Anonymous dedication to freedom and truth" says it "provides only objective and verified intelligence by maintaining staunch political neutrality" while protecting the Republic of Korea "from threats to liberal democracy including secret agents and left-wing subversives".
But some left-wing Hankyoreh-reading subversives are claiming that the generous free email proofreading service is actually designed to systematically gather details about the private thoughts and views of citizens through the use of 'packet tapping' or 'deep packet inspection', which records the stream of data between your phone or computer and that of the person you perhaps shouldn't be talking to. An anonymous NIS spokesperson, who also declined to confirm his age and gender, denied the government was building a database of people's thoughts, but some people "systematically attempt so-called 'cyber asylum' in ways such as using foreign mail services (Gmail, Hotmail) that lie beyond the boundaries of Korea's investigative authority, making packet tapping an inevitable measure for dealing with this."
Gmail and Hotmail have denied that they lie beyond the boundaries of Korea's investigative authority, but they are believed to be lying. Sources have told The Dokdo Times that the NIS routinely intercepts emails, blog postings, message board comments, search terms, photos, videos, e-commerce transactions, usernames, passwords and StarCraft scores, but Google – which is becoming more popular in Korea especially with foreign companies - has not been particularly cooperative with requests for live access to their users' communications. In addition to protecting potential traitors, this also means that a valuable source of competitive intelligence is being denied to Korean companies, who must wait for "deep-packet inspection" logs to be processed rather than benefiting from real-time access to their foreign competitors' communications, leading to Google being raided by the police on several occasions for 'anti-competitive behavior'.
But the news that Google and Hotmail are being tapped has caused some confusion. 25 year-old Kim, an office worker in Seoul, said "I sometimes see these signs saying to report spies, call this NIS number, so when I found out my Gmail account was being spied on, I called the NIS to report them to themselves. I thought it was my civic duty but they got angry and said not to joke with them. I don't understand."
Other left-wing subversives and foreigners have also tried to stir controversy by suggesting that since it is a logical fallacy to only tap foreign Internet services on the principle that otherwise you wouldn't know what people using them were saying, it follows that the NIS already taps all domestic Internet services. But the argument demonstrates the dangerous and undermining ignorance of people with left-wing and foreign views, since the tapping of domestic Internet services is well established and hardly a secret to try and create some false outrage over.
But it is clear that anyone who uses these foreign companies, products or services is guilty of some level of treachery, because there are perfectly good Korean alternatives which people in Korea should obviously be using. Preferring a foreign system to a Korean one is effectively the same thing as supporting the Japanese colonial administration during its brutal occupation of Korea.
There should be no hiding place for those seeking 'cyber asylum' outside Korea, and the government maintains that people caught seeking asylum outside Korea probably ought to be put in one domestically, to ease the strain on foreign governments and promote friendly international relations with them.
Due to regional autonomy agreements, Dokdo falls outside the scope of NIS monitoring. However, readers within the former Republic of Korea are reminded that any communications sent to The Dokdo Times from Gmail or Hotmail will probably be proofread by the NIS for their benefit.
Because of the time-consuming nature of 'deep packet inspection', the National Intelligence Service Traitors Division has asked citizens using Gmail and Hotmail to cooperate, and copy or 'cc' all their email messages automatically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Intelligence Service says if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Its number of employees and annual budget are classified.
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