The head of Daum Kakao, Korea's leading mobile messenger operator, was questioned over allegations he was negligent in allowing child pornography to be shared on the social networking service, Wednesday.
According to the Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency, Lee Sirgoo, the co-CEO of the company, presented himself in the evening to answer questions over whether his company failed to block such content from being distributed on Kakao Group, a mobile app designed for messaging among groups of people.
This is the first time for the head of an online service provider to be investigated on charges of violating the Juvenile Sex Protection Law here. "I'll answer police questions to the best of my knowledge," he said.According to the law, online service providers must have appropriate measures in place to detect child pornography. Those who violate the law could face up to three years in prison and a maximum 20 million won ($18,000) fine.
Lee allegedly neglected his duty of taking such measures when he headed Kakao Corp. alone before the company merged with Daum Communications, the nation's second largest portal operator, in October.This came after police recently detained a man, surnamed Jeon, who distributed sexually explicit videos of children through multiple Kakao Group accounts from June to August.
Police found that thousands of people had downloaded child pornography there; most of them were middle and high school students. Police said some of the content was created and distributed by themselves.
Police said 15 teenagers who distributed child pornography, including elementary school students, avoided criminal charges on condition that they receive counseling."It seems that Kakao did not take any measures to filter out such material," a police official said. "About 10,000 downloaded files from Jeon and 80 percent of them were teenagers."According to Daum Kakao, Lee has been questioned three times as a witness on issues of child pornography, and one time as a suspect last month, the company said. "As the head of the company, he will cooperate with the police investigation," the company said in a statement.