South Korea's government is wiping out rules for Web browsing that trapped the country's Internet users with 1990s-era security technology and created a de facto monopoly for Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer here.
The South Korean rules had long stood in contrast to efforts by other governments around the world that have tried to break Microsoft's grip on the Internet browser market. For South Koreans, they made Internet transactions a nuisance by requiring that users download plug-in programs, sometimes a dozen or so, for each website with which they did business.
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[. . .] South Koreans in coming months are likely to experiment with other types of browsers as operators of websites, particularly banks and stores, update with more sophisticated security and data encryption techniques that don't force users to install special security plug-ins, or applets.
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Last week, the Financial Supervisory Commission, which regulates banks, said it would permit all online financial transactions to use either the Korean-mandated security technique or "equivalents" that are as good or better. The change was set for July 1, though regulators said it will take weeks for companies to modify their sites and for consumers to be able to conduct transactions on other browsers.
In addition to frustrating Korean users, the reliance on Active X and Internet Explorer---webpages are often only viewable by IE users---commonly annoys expats trying to use the Korean internet. It holds a marketshare of something like 98% here, but as I showed in a March post about Active X making smartphones stupid, over 66% of my blog's visitors were using something other than Internet Explorer. That number might be higher if teachers weren't forced into using IE---often IE6*---at school. Though my readership is fairly diverse and includes Koreans, expatriates in Korea, and passers-by from all over the world looking for
Looking at numbers for July 28, 2009 to July 29, 2010, from Google Analytics.
* IE6 was on every single computer I used in South Korea from 2005 through 2010, including those at several different schools and public PC방. The number of visitors here using IE6 has gone down over the past year, and I'm one of many who started using a newer version. From May 29 to June 28, 2010, of the 31,512 visitors to my site, 1,642, or 5.2%, were viewing it with IE6. During that range in 2009, 5,480 of the 37,609 visitors, or 14.6%, were using IE6. For what it's worth, I always used IE6, and