South Korea con­sid­ers opt out for child mon­i­tor­ing app

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

SEOUL: South Korea is de­cid­ing whether it will al­low par­ents to opt out of in­stalling a mon­i­tor­ing app on their chil­dren’s smart­phones fol­low­ing crit­i­cism the sys­tem en­cour­ages a sur­veil­lance cul­ture and has se­cu­rity flaws. Korea Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion chair­man Choi Sungjoon said yes­ter­day that par­lia­ment is con­sid­er­ing the is­sue.

South Korea en­acted a law in April to re­quire mo­bile com­pa­nies and par­ents to in­stall one of about a dozen apps that fil­ter ob­jec­tion­able ma­te­rial when peo­ple aged 18 or younger pur­chase a smart­phone. South Korea has not al­lowed any ex­cep­tions. Ja­pan has a sim­i­lar law but al­lows par­ents to opt out.

Crit­ics said the law le­gal­ized sur­veil­lance of chil­dren and jeop­ar­dized pri­vacy. Many of the apps not only blocked con­tent that au­thor­i­ties deemed to be un­fit for chil­dren but also col­lected data such as web brows­ing history. The com­mis­sion faced heavy crit­i­cism when gov­ern­ment-spon­sored Smart Sher­iff, the most pop­u­lar of the apps, was re­vealed to have se­ri­ous se­cu­rity flaws. Ex­perts at In­ter­net watch­dog group Cit­i­zen Lab and Ger­man soft­ware au­dit­ing firm Cure53 warned in Septem­ber that Smart Sher­iff’s weak se­cu­rity left the door wide open to hack­ers and put the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of some 380,000 users at risk. Smart Sher­iff was later pulled from the mar­ket and it stopped new down­loads from Novem­ber.

In ad­di­tion to giv­ing an opt-out op­tion to par­ents, the pro­posal by 10 law­mak­ers sub­mit­ted in Oc­to­ber said mo­bile com­pa­nies must ex­plain to par­ents the func­tions of mon­i­tor­ing apps in de­tail, in­clud­ing the type of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion col­lected from chil­dren.

Choi, the com­mu­ni­ca­tions reg­u­la­tor, said the gov­ern­ment should con­tinue to play a role in pro­tect­ing young smart­phone users against harm­ful con­tent. “I think we have a gen­eral un­der­stand­ing that block­ing th­ese ob­scene ma­te­ri­als for the kids is good for their per­sonal growth,” he said. — AP

SEOUL: In this Thurs­day July 16, 2015, file photo, South Korean high school stu­dents play games on their smart­phones on a bench on the side­walk in Seoul, South Korea. — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.