South Korea's E-Commerce System Sucks; Moon Jae-in Agrees

South Korea's E-Commerce System Sucks; Moon Jae-in Agrees

Jieun Choi
Jieun Choi

South Korea may have the world’s fastest internet speed and stable 4G LTE network connection on subway lines, but its people have been suffering from the chronic inconvenience of living with an outdated online banking and ecommerce system.

Moon Jae-In, the frontrunner of the upcoming presidential election, pledged to abolish the main cause of this suffering — ActiveX.

In a press release today, Moon expressed his intention to “abolish government-issued digital certificates (공인인증서) and ActiveX on government-run websites,” and “achieve ‘no-plug-in’ policy on all newly-established government websites.”

Moon’s pledge, understandably, excites many.

“Moon is going to abolish ActiveX and government-issued digital certificates…
Where can I donate to Moon? Or maybe I should join the party.
I’m ready to even sell off the nation if anyone can get rid of that garbage.”

“Abolishing ActiveX?! Take my vote already! This is always right!”

“Moon is abolishing ActiveX. Moon for the president!”

ActiveX is an archaic internet security system that used to be a spearheading innovation, well, back in 1996. Back then, when internet security wasn’t on par with today’s, South Korea implemented an intricate set of softwares to secure the e-commerce industry. Over the years, however, ActiveX has become obsolete globally due to its propensity to slow down devices and vulnerability to malicious codes.

The system only works in tandem with Internet Explorer, shutting off Apple users and now even Microsoft users, as the recent update removed the ActiveX in its new Edge browser. (Some have dubbed South Korea the ‘land of eternal Internet Explorer.’)

The bigger issue is that the security system is not necessarily safe. After decades of installing security plug-ins , South Koreans have gotten used to mindlessly clicking “yes” when downloading softwares, which sometimes include malwares.

A meme showing how tedious the online shopping is on South Korean e-commerce websites: In an imaginary conversation between a user and anthropomorphized ActiveX, the security system keeps asking whether the user is sure about the purchase and asks for additional approval and information. By the end, due to an incorrect credit card number, the user is asked to back go to step one. (Source: Unknown) 

Moon isn’t the first politician to promise the death of ActiveX. Back in 2014, President Park made the same pledge, mentioning how ActiveX hinders Chinese customers from buying the “Chun Song-Yi coat”, a coat worn by the protagonist in a popular K-drama “My Love From the Stars.” But after almost three years, Chun Song-yi fans who want the coat must still use ActiveX and Internet Explorer.


Cover Image: Moon Jae-in is destroying ActiveX and the digital certificate. (Source: Ultimate Fans of Moon Jae-in” Facebook Group)

Jieun Choi wrote the radar report.

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