12/16/2013

South Korea still Required to use Internet Explorer due to 1999 Law

A South Korean law that requires the use of Internet Explorer when making purchases online is still in effect today.  The Washington Post has brought attention to the fact that South Korea, while seemingly a high-tech country whose cell phone coverage reaches deep into the extensive subway system, is still legally mired in the past and required to use what is considered by most people to be an ineffective and unpopular browser.

In 1999, at a time when internet use worldwide was just beginning to take off, the South Korean government hoped to encourage its citizens to shop online.  Security became a concern, and to try and promote some semblance of safety and uniformity, the National Assembly required everyone to use Internet Explorer.

Now that Internet Explorer is by some accounts actually the least secure browser to use, lawmakers in the National Assembly have proposed legislation to repeal the previous law.  The Washington Post illustrates one reason of Internet Explorer has deleterious effects on South Koreans by noting that:
“In current versions of Internet Explorer, Web surfers must approve the use of ActiveX by clicking ‘Yes’ to a question asking whether to proceed. This gives users the chance to avoid accessing or passing along untrusted material. But South Koreans are so accustomed to saying ‘yes’ that they sometimes mistakenly download malicious software.” 
The reasons why Internet Explorer is the most insecure browser are numerous, but perhaps the biggest reason is that it is still one of the most commonly-used browser in the world - therefore, it is a prime target for viruses and malicious software. 

Read the full article in the Washington Post here: South Korea is Stuck with Internet Explorer for Online Shopping because of Security Laws.

by Daniel Gardner
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team and Entertainment, Media and New Tech Law Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.

He assists clients in their contentious, non-contentious and business developments needs in Korea and China.