Last winter, when Chung Soo-young saw a man rushing out of the women’s restroom at a chain coffee shop in downtown Seoul, the first thing she did was to scan all stalls in search of a hidden camera. Like many other South Korean women, Chung, 26, constantly worries that she could be secretly filmed in private moments. Her fear spiked, she says, when she saw the intruder and “realized I can actually be a victim.”
In South Korea, microcameras installed in public bathrooms for surreptitious filming are an everyday concern. Police data show that the number of “illegal filming” crimes sharply increased from 1,353 in 2011 to 6,470 in 2017.
The fear of digital peeping Toms has led women to stuff tiny balls of toilet paper into holes they find in public bathroom stalls or cover the holes with tape. Six months after her bathroom incident, Chung decided to act and put together her own “emergency kit” to thwart molka, or hidden cameras.
She started a crowdfunding project for the kit, and the response was greater than she had expected. More than 600 people bought the kit, which costs about $12 (14,000 Korean won) and includes a tube of silicone sealant to fill up holes, an ice pick to break tiny camera lenses and stickers to patch up holes.
Thinking of her kits as a “stopgap,” Chung also started building an archive of illicitly recorded videos and pictures she found online to demonstrate how serious the problem is. In September, during a search, she stumbled on a video of herself from that December day.
Once filmed, molka videos are quickly shared online. With the right search words in Korean, it is not difficult to find pictures and videos of women in bathrooms and changing rooms on file-sharing platforms and social networks such as Tumblr and Twitter. Thumbnails of such videos, tagged with an estimated age of the filmed women or the filming location, are posted with a messenger ID. Anyone can contact the seller, who is often the one who shot the film, and get gigabytes of voyeuristic videos for pennies.
Rallying across the street from the Long Island City site where Amazon’s new campus is set to rise, opponents called the plan – which will give Amazon nearly $3bn in tax breaks and subsidies from state and city – a ripoff to taxpayers that will stress the neighborhood’s infrastructure while doing little to help local residents.
Lawmakers will never get the chance to vote on the plan, since the state is routing it through an economic development agency controlled by the governor, avoiding city council approval on zoning changes that would normally be required.
On Wednesday, residents at the nearby Queensbridge Houses – the largest public housing project in the US – complained of heat outages, officials said.
“Today is a great day to be a real-estate broker in Long Island City,” said Jonathan Westin, head of New York Communities for Change. “Today is a horrible day to be a tenant struggling to make rent.”
During his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night, Randy Moss, formerly a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, wore a tie with the names of African Americans who have been slain by police officers or vigilantes, in recent years, including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Alton Sterling. The powerful statement comes as the debate over peaceful protests by NFL players during the National Anthem continues, fueled primarily by President Donald Trump who falsely claims the kneeling is unpatriotic and anti-American, even though it is meant to speak out against the oppression within the American justice system against people of colour. “…There’s a lot of stuff going on in our country. And I just wanted to let these family members know they’re not alone.” - Randy Moss
1940. The US-Canada border was carved right through several pre-existing Native properties, dissecting the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Indian Defense League staged this protest in 1940, objecting to the US federal classification of First Nations people as foreign aliens.