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Seoul seeks new ways to block adult content

Resident’s registration numbers banned for age approval; filtering software to be distributed


The government has strengthened measures to prevent teenagers from easy access to pornographic websites and adult content on mobile phones.

The measures came at the national policy meeting presided over by the prime minister on Friday.

Social security numbers will be disabled when they are used to get the age approval needed to view adult content on the Internet from August.

Social security numbers have been frequently stolen and used by teenagers to gain access to pornographic sites.

Instead of social security numbers, credit card numbers and an Internet personal identification number called “i-PIN” will be used for online identification from August.

The government will also distribute software that will block access to adult content on smartphones within the first half of the year as well as a content-filtering program that will recognize adult material by analyzing colors and sounds of the content and turn them off by default, according to officials.

The government plans to make it mandatory for all online file-storage companies, dubbed “webhard” services in Korea, to be equipped with content blocking programs.

“Webhard” services have been regarded as the main source for teenagers downloading adult content.

The government will also order police to crack down on online adult content from May before implementing the measures and strengthen penalties for offenders.

“The porn blocking measures will be implemented with cooperation from five government agencies including public administration, education and gender ministries, the Korea Communications Commission, which regulates media, and the National Police Agency. We are determined to root out the problem this time,“ said a public administration ministry official.

According to the Gender Ministry, 54.5 percent of teenagers had viewed adult material on the Internet last year and those who watched on mobile phones increased from 7.5 percent to 12.3 percent over the past year.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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