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New Individual identification System Sought
South Korea is seeking to replace the required usage of resident registration numbers in cyberspace by introducing a new individual identification system.
Information-Communication Minister Chin Dae-je yesterday told a press conference that the Korean version of social security numbers need to be complemented with a new system to protect individuals' online identity.
``Currently, abuses of resident registration numbers are a serious social problem. We are thinking of embarking on a new online identification system,'' Chin said.
Names and resident registration numbers are musts to subscribe to most Korean Web sites which need to identify customers or check their eligibility for adult materials.
The problem is that the numbers hold too much personal information and this has been an emerging subject, according to the Korea Information Security Agency (KISA).
The 13-digit number system, initiated about four decades ago, is a combination of birth date, gender, the first registration region and registration order.
Experts point out the numbers might encourage unscrupulous persons to commit identity theft, one of the fast-growing crimes of the information age.
When the numbers end up in the hands of criminals, they can be used to forge bank accounts or to make fake cell phones in the name of the innocent victims.
The leakage of personal information, most of them resident card numbers, reported to the state-backed KISA amounted to just 5,785 cases in 2001 but the figure soared to 8,298 in 2002 and 9,163 last year.
``To reduce the risks arising from the resident registration number requirement, we need to come out with new security measures. In addition to launching a new identification system containing less personal data, it is possible to make compulsory certificate services,'' Chin said.
If the certificate system, which is currently in use for banking and stock trading on the Internet, is comprehensively applied to all Web sites, Net users will not need to reveal resident numbers for subscriptions.
A drawback to such a solution, however, is that it will burden Internet sites because they must upgrade their servers to facilitate the system.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Communication yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of National Defense.
Under the agreement, both ministries will join efforts to develop next-generation technologies including robotics, electronics tags and global positioning system.