The Korean government is now mandating that phone carriers install firewall apps on cell phones sold to children and teenagers, buying some criticism and worry from the industry and experts alike.
According to the Korea Communications Commission, a law came into effect on May 16 that requires all cell phone carriers to install apps that will block “dangerous and harmful material” on cell phones when selling the phones to children and young adults.
Furthermore, even after the contract has been signed, in order to ensure that the app isn’t deleted by the child, if the app is deleted or is not active for over 15 days, the guardians of the child must be notified.
While the law seems to have good intentions at first glance, a closer look brings on some worries. There are some issues, the first being that the government is enforcing surveillance and censorship of material for children without taking into consideration the opinions of the parents and guardians.
Some other concerns have also been raised, including the fact that it is infringing on the rights of parents by monitoring their children’s cell phone use, the vague standards of the materials subject to censorship, and the variety of different apps with different functions that carriers can choose to use to satisfy the requirements.