[KS] Korea's Internet problems

Owen Miller owen at saudade.plus.com
Tue Feb 20 19:22:22 EST 2007

Thanks for bringing up this subject here. This incompatibility with
Firefox and Linux is something that I'm always frustrated by when
attempting to use Korean government or official websites for research
purposes. I know this is not such a big issue for me as it is for people
living and working in South Korea who need to use internet banking and
so on, but what makes it extra frustrating is the fact that Korea is so
advanced in terms of putting information up onto the internet (the
ChosOn wangjo sillok for example). The situation is even more baffling
when you consider that South Korea is one of the few places in the world
where there has in the past been strong public backing for an attempt at
breaking the MS monopoly, at least as far as word processors go.

For the really technically-minded among us (I'm not one of them), this
blog article explains all the details of the Korean internet security
system and why it is so problematic:

Best wishes for a happy new year,
Owen Miller
(SOAS Centre of Korean Studies)

On Tue, 2007-02-20 at 23:22 +0900, Brother Anthony wrote:

> Many members of our List must be using Apple, Linux or Firefox and
> will therefore have realized years back that they could not do
> anything useful with most Korean sites, especially when financial
> transactions are involved, because only Microsoft platforms allow the
> use of the notorious Active X plugins, that have long been actively
> encouraged by the Korean government. They might like to know that
> there are (very faint) signs of revolt. The first sign I noted was an
> article in the Korea Times of February 11,
> http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200702/kt2007021117420210440.htm 
> but there had in fact already been an article a few days earlier, and
> even last year those in the know had begun campaigning,
> http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200702/kt2007020518003910220.htm 
> The irony is that the new Microsoft Vista is designed to block the use
> of Active X and the government authorities are now desperately trying
> to prevent people in Korea installing it because then they will find
> out how completely dependent they have become on bad technology. There
> is ample room for conspiracy theories as to just why Korea sold its
> soul to Active X (or rather to MS) and they will be focussing on the
> less than clearly identified Mr Kim. It will be interesting to see
> what happens, but it is sad to see the usual response appearing, along
> the lines of "it would cost too much to change, and after all, most
> Koreans are perfectly happy with Microsoft." I think that this issue
> is of some importance to us on this list, since quite a few might
> well want to be able to do online business with Korea without being
> forced to change computers or systems.
> Brother Anthony
> Sogang University, Seoul
> http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/
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