South Korea tightens ID checks on adult sites

Stricter rules to protect minors include extra verification steps on top of the usual methods via resident registration number and banning of lewd images and sounds on landing pages before log in.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Adult Web sites in South Korea will need extra procedures to verify if visitors are aged over 19, to prevent minors from accessing them.

The country's Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said this was due to a revision to the Youth Protection Law, which will come into effect on Sunday, The Korea Times reported on Thursday. The new rules had been announced in September last year but took a year for the law to go into effect as the government had to amend related ordinances and collect opinions from related parties.

The news daily noted the revision comes after minors frequently accessed adult content with fake registrations using their parents' or other adults' resident registration numbers.

In addition to the usual identity verification methods of resident registration number, visitors accessing these sites will have to prove their identity again through tools such as authorization certificates, Internet Personal Identification Number (i-PIN) or cell phone registration.

Web site operators will select one of these methods for verification, and those who do not follow these procedures will be subject to up to three years in prision or a fine of 20 million won (US$17,807.86).

Other than the identification process, the revision will also ban Web site operators from displaying crude images, sounds or phrases on main pages before login occurs. At the moment, anyone can see such images without logging in, but the content will appear only after visitors log in through the strengthened identification procedures, Kim Sung-byun, a ministry director told the publication.

Kim added: "Many measures devised to protect minors are bothersome to adults. But we hope they will understand and accept the new rule in terms of protecting children."


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