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KCSC considers app filters to protect underage users

The authorities may introduce measures to limit underage smartphone users’ access to applications stores, sources said Monday.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission is considering adding software to smartphones to limit access to adult content available in application stores, or setting up separate applications stores according to the content provided.

While smartphone applications have grown to have an economic impact, they have often been criticized for having no effective means to limit access by underage users.

As concerns grow, the KCSC is said to be considering taking action to address the problems.

One of the measures under consideration is developing software similar to Green-i-net, a program that blocks illegal content for fixed-line Internet users, for smartphones.

The commission is said to be analyzing currently available applications for potentially harmful effects they may have on underage users.

It is also looking into the possibility of obligating operators of application stores to set up separate stores for applications unfit for underage users.

The measures are being considered in light of the fact that more direct means requiring applications store operators to introduce more stringent age-confirming processes have limited effect on applications stores operated by overseas concerns.

However, the effectiveness of such measures could be limited as underage mobile phone users using devices under their parents’ names is not uncommon.

While the KCSC looks for ways to limit underage users’ access to adult content, some in the legislature have been moving to provide legal means to enforce related regulations.

Last month, Rep. Han Sun-kyo of the Grand National Party introduced revisions to three related laws that call for means for protecting underage users from such content to be added to smartphones and tablet PCs and introducing technological standards for such software.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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