Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Citizen paparazzis in Korea

Want to earn some money by being a papparazi? Apparently the government pays out huge rewards.

As this article notes:

The central and local governments are moving to expand the “paparazzi” system this year with the goal of reducing illegal acts through “voluntary citizen participation,” and the number of applications has correspondingly risen greatly. The “Emergency Exit Paparazzi” system was launched on Jan. 1 as a trial period during which citizens can report blocked emergency exits in buildings used for business purposes. In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) recently announced plans to introduce the “Education Paparazzi,” saying that it would take reports on educational improprieties. On Jan. 19, the Korean Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) decided to accept reports written by citizens on hidden assets overseas. This means that three more paparazzi systems have already been added in 2010. The Education Paparazzi system offers reward money of up to 100 million Won, while those who report hidden overseas assets could receive reward money of up to 500 million Won.
Well-known examples of paparazzi systems operated by the government and other organizations include the “Bong-parazzi,” who tracks the issuing of free plastic bags, “Soe-parazzi,” who check for false labeling of beef place of origin, “Kkong-parazzi,” who report on the improper disposal of cigarette butts and “No-parazzi,” who report on illegal karaoke operation. The systems, however, are not limited to these examples. There are more than 60 systems altogether, including “Pharm-parazzi,” who monitor violations of the division of labor between pharmacy and hospital and whose participants require a certain degree of expertise, and “Ssal-parazzi,” who monitor false labeling of rice place of origin. The amount of reward money given varies widely, from tens of thousands of won to hundreds of millions.
Time to polish your sleuthing skills. Or better still, join one of those academies that train you!
In light of this situation, paparazzi academies have started to become more and more specialized. The “M” Academy teaches students how to use high-tech equipment ranging from ordinary digital cameras to the kind of infrared pinhole cameras used by security agents, and instructs them on techniques for on-site filming of activities such as prostitution and trash disposal. For course fees totaling around one million Won per month, the academy will teach people how to take “profitable” pictures, including those of entertainers appearing before prosecutors, and how to avoid legal obstacles such as restrictions on violating an individual’s right to his or her own image. For the short course, a two-day program where students study from a “reward system textbook” made by the academy itself, the course fee is around 250,000 Won. The industry estimates that there around 20 such formal paparazzi academies nationwide.