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Defense Ministry to ban smart phone use inside its office for data security

All Headlines 11:39 July 03, 2013

SEOUL, July 3 (Yonhap) -- The Defense Ministry said Wednesday it will ban its staff from using the camera and Internet connection functions on smart phones inside of the ministry's building in a bid to prevent military data leaks.

Under the ministry's newly set mobile device management plan, defense ministry employees will be required to install a smart phone application which deactivates major smart phone functions like computing, Internet connectivity and the camera, while inside the ministry building in central Seoul, according to the ministry.

Staff members will still be allowed to answer and make phone calls and use text messaging services, but workers using Apple Inc's iPhone are only allowed to take calls and messages. The plan will take effect from July 15, the ministry said.

Under the plan, visitors are prohibited from carrying any mobile phones into the ministry building.

The ministry said the latest plan aims to prevent military data leaks, but workers said it will cause major inconveniences, especially to iPhone users.

The ministry will first hold a trial run of the plan and later consider revising it if necessary, the ministry said, adding that many foreign countries are banning smart phone use in major military facilities.

The ministry said it will also consider whether to further apply the plan to other military facilities after seeing the result of the test run.

Two thirds of South Korean wireless service users own smart phones, according to a recent survey.


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