Thursday, July 1, 2010

No more ActiveX in Korea?

It's a cry heard frequently 'round the anglophone K-blogosphere: "End the tyranny of ActiveX!" (though often said less eloquently than that, and often with more profanity).

Well, the proliferation of smartphones that don't, can't, or won't utilize ActiveX have pushed the government to force the banks to stop requiring this bulky, security-impaired plugin (is that what it is?) that is the bane of existence for Mac users and anyone not using a ten-year-old Microsoft OS.

From AFP, which couches it in terms of ending Microsoft's monopoly on online shopping in Korea:
South Korea since 1999 has made it mandatory for users of online banking and shopping services to verify their identifications through Microsoft's data-encryption framework known as Active X.

Critics called for changes to allow competition and to keep pace with technological advances.
Microsoft's framework, developed in 1996, has faced a challenge amid high demand for smartphones which require more open-source software.

South Korean regulators realised the rules were preventing businesses from offering services to smartphones.

The Korea Communications Commission in May declared the online security rules "unfit for a new Internet environment involving smartphones".

The financial services commission has said it would allow the use of either the original security software or equivalents that are as good or better.
Don't you mean, "not as horrible"?

At any rate, I don't know if it's correct to say that ActiveX was "mandatory" (at least in practice). Shinhan Bank, for example, gave me forms that allowed me to do online banking from my Mac, apparently without ActiveX.

Ah, it will be nice if I can start accessing my money in KB as well.

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