On 20 May 2022, the South Korean Supreme Court upheld the first and second-degree acquittal verdicts in favor of a number of civil servants, who were found not guilty of the offence of breach of professional secrecy of a public official.
In particular, some civil servants who were employed by the public organism managing the databases created for tracking contagions, had sent to their families, during the first pandemic wave in January 2020, photos of documents containing sensitive information on the health status, gender, home, and work address of people infected with COVID-19. An action had been brought against them on charges of breaching the duty of confidentiality imposed on public officials and civil servants.
However, the court held that the conduct, although reprehensible, did not constitute an offence, as the dissemination of this type of data did not pose any danger to the proper functioning of the state, a purpose for which officials are obliged to maintain professional secrecy.
In any case, the officials were sentenced to a fine for disseminating sensitive data, which in any case constitutes a violation of the right to privacy.