Three Updates on Korea’s Messaging Privacy War, Kakao Tells Government “No”
2014 10월 21

KakaoTalk Confirms They Will NOT Comply with Government Wiretapping Warrants

A cyber censorship battle is being waged between the private and public sectors.

Daum Kakao CEO Sirgoo Lee in particular has been embroiled in the controversy over cyber surveillance. He explained why he will not comply with government demands for records held on KakaoTalk, citing user privacy as his priority:  “I've honored court warrants for eavesdropping so far, but wiretapping warrants violate the law. I cannot obey the government's request to hand over KakaoTalk messages.” He reiterated that while Kakao has no way of serving the warrents due to technical constraints, he would not consider using any new technology to fulfill any such requests. This clearly enraged the government.

Kim Jin-tae, member of the ruling Saenuri Party, asked “Are you saying that you will not hand over KakaoTalk messages of murderers or spies, even when wiretapping warrants are not subject to defamation?” Lee responded by saying, “The strict interpretation of the law will make any cooperation in executing warrants impossible. So, I need your understanding in this matter.”

We've clearly not seen the end of this episode yet.

Korean Business Tycoon becomes Cyber Asylum Seeker

The Chariman of Doosan Group, who is well-known for using social netwroking services for communication hsa closed his KakaoTalk account and moved to Telegram.

According to business circles the growing controversy surrounding government surveillance made Chairman Park leave a message on his KakaoTalk account on Oct. 9, saying, “I will leave KakaoTalk. So, contact me via Telegram.”

It is believed that lawmakers are also switching their current messenger apps from KakaoTalk to Telegram. Some refer to this phenomenon as cyber asylum. Korean subscribers to Telegram have already exceeded 2.6 million.

Korean Startup Releases Telegram with Emoticons

A Korean sstartup, Bookpal, has released Bookpal Talk, on Oct. 16 on Google Play. Based on the open source Telegram source code, the service allows communication with existing Telegram users and provides emoticons and free stickers made by local web cartoonists. It's been billed as a 'cute version' of Telegram, optimised for the Korean market.

According to a company spokesperson Bookpal Talk was designed for communication between Web novel writers and readers, but they developed an open service so existing Telegram users can use the emoticons and stickers.

The company will launch an iOS version in the near future.

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