A discouraging news for Korean open web movement

Web 2.0 | 2008/07/25 19:30 | Web 2.0 Asia
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Open Web, a Korean web forum led by professor Kichang Kim of Korea University is best known for its fight against rampant use of Active X in Korea, lost a lawsuit against the KFTC (Korea Financial Telecommunication and Clearings Comittee). Professor Kim accused that the Korean government's mandate on the use of Active X programs for the internet banking and other public web services should be lifted, as it is against fair trade and "overly favors technology from a single company (that is, Microsoft)".

Professor Kim has also asserted that as many Korean netizens somehow grew to think that Active X is something they have to download anyway, many of them are exposed to security vulnerabilities. Also, as so many entities including virtually all financial institutes in the nation depend on Microsoft technology in Korea, whenever Microsoft announces an update, the whole nation has to upgrade its internet infrastructure, and this leads to various losses on a national scale - Kim asserted.

But Professor Kim's year-long accusation fell short of convincing the court that the government mandate on the Active X is against fair trade and therefore is illegal. The logic there, Professor Kim claims, was that as the majority of Korean internet users are using the Internet Explorer anyway, not supporting the other browsers is not regarded to have severely deteriorated Korean users' online experience. But this is perhaps a case of "reverse causality" - i.e. Most Korean internet users are using the IE because of the Active X, in the first place.

With this court ruling, now the required use of Active X in Korea is not only a common practice, but also has just become a legal practice. Well, about this, I can only say - the jury's still out there.
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