A new era for online identity certifications begins

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The public online identification system, which has reigned as the dominant security platform for online transactions here, will lose its legal and official status from Thursday, opening up a new market for private digital certificate providers. , the government announced on Wednesday.

“With the entry into force of the revised electronic signature law on December 10, the system will lose its official status granted by the government,” said the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Interior and of the Interior. Security in a joint press release.

Users will still be able to keep their current online certificates until their expiration date or they can opt for alternative certificates developed by private companies, the ministries said.

Launched in 1999 as an identity authentication tool for government websites and online banking services, the public online security system had nearly 46 million subscribers – in a country of 51.6 million – in November.

However, it has been a constant source of complaints from users as well as online businesses for its complicated procedures which often involve multiple rounds of downloads of supporting programs, such as ActiveX and anti-malware software. It has also been criticized as a key barrier for those residing abroad to access online services here.

The government made a commitment in 2018 to phase out the authentication system. In May this year, parliament passed an amendment to a law governing electronic identification to allow it.

The change is widely expected to increase user convenience as private service providers compete with easier and simpler procedures using cloud services, biometrics and shorter personal identification numbers.

Government officials pledged Wednesday to offer support for a smooth transition.

The government would introduce private certificates to online tax services first, they said. The government is considering five candidates, provided by Kakao, KB Kookmin Bank, NHN Payco, PASS and value-added service provider NICE Information & Telecommunication.

The selected company will start delivering their digital certificate solution for the year-end tax filing process starting in January.

The government also plans to allow people to use digital certificates from private companies for other public services, such as issuing copies of resident registration and using official government websites.

Meanwhile, the ICT ministry is reportedly pushing for an amendment to the Electronic Financial Transactions law so that more digital certificates can be developed and used in the financial sector.

“The ICT ministry expects more and more digital certificates, equipped with new technologies such as blockchain and biodata, to be further developed,” the ministry said in its statement.

The number of digital certificates issued in South Korea in November stood at 6.64 million, up from 3.7 million at the end of 2019.

By Shim Woo-hyun ([email protected])


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