Korea Worried About Surge in Mobile Porn

Aug 9, 2011 8:00 AM PST

SEOUL — Koreans are consuming more Internet porn thanks to the country’s burgeoning use of smartphones and tablets.

So much so that the increase in mobile porn —  particularly since the release of the Apple iPhone in 2009 — has the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) worried according to a report in The Korea Times.

Although the KCC provided no hard data, the agency said it’s confident that it can provide enough statistics for a detailed analysis that proves the overall consumption of sex on the Internet has increased since people began carrying “liquid crystal display (LCD) screens in their pockets.”

The country’s three major mobile providers, SK telecom, KT and LG Uplus reportedly had 15 million smartphone users as of July after reaching the 10 million mark only four months earlier.

Korea’s KCC is so worried about the  “immense” surge in porn consumption that it convinced SK Telecom to shut down its Hot Zone adults-only service from its online applications market.

Park, a 33 year-old worker in Seoul said he has been accessing porn since receiving his first mobile phone. "I think therapists would evaluate me as a porn addict. It’s hard for me to go to sleep without watching some sex videos on my phones at night. My wife has no idea about my `porn escapades’ and things have gotten really uneasy."

A KCC official said it appears as though many Koreans are carrying a smartphone or mobile Internet device all the time and they clearly aren’t checking e-mail or browsing the web.

"Of the top mobile websites accessed through mobile handsets last month, dozens of them were sexually explicit. With advanced technologies and more bandwidth, an increasing number of smartphone users are accessing porn sites, which brings forth the problem of addiction and also heavy data usage that could disturb the traffic of mobile-phone operators.

"It’s hard to control lewd content on mobile Internet platforms you will never be able to filter or encode all of them and the problem is that under-aged users are being exposed to these sex-related materials," the official said.

The KCC eventually wants all of the three carriers to install porn-filtering software in future devices, but the companies are resisting.

"The core of the problem is that the porn sites are usually based outside of the country and the KCC has no control over them,” said an SK Telecom official.

And critics maintain that porn just generates too much traffic to ever be completely handcuffed by the carriers.

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